The Cincinnati Bengals have selected Ja’Marr Chase with their top-five pick in this year’s NFL Draft. Kyle Pitts was the only non-quarterback taken in front of Chase. Signal-callers Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson and Trey Lance kicked off the draft.
As for Chase, he’ll nicely replace A.J. Green, but wide receiver wasn’t necessarily considered a major need for this Bengals roster. That’s why it might be hard to justify, but Chase is a generational talent that would have been hard for any team to pass on.
Chase opted out for his junior season at LSU, but when he was with Bengals starting quarterback Joe Burrow on the championship-winning LSU roster in 2019, he was the top-performing receiver in America.
Chase had more touchdowns and more yards than 2019 first-round pick Justin Jefferson, who was a Pro Bowler as a rookie after being selected No. 22 overall to the Minnesota Vikings. Chase will have even bigger expectations than that for a Bengals offense poised to make a major leap in 2021 and easily be the best Zac Taylor has had since coming to Cincinnati.
Even so, many will question the Bengals for not taking Oregon Ducks tackle Penei Sewell, as offensive line was easily one of, if not the team’s biggest need, and Sewell is regarded as a generational talent.
Early in the 2021 pre-draft process, Sewell was the player many thought Cincinnati would opt to go with. Even though he went down with a season-ending injury in Week 11, Joe Burrow still ranked in the top 10 in sacks taken. He was second in sacks through 10 games, a decent chunk of those were coverage sacks, according to film guru Matt Minich.
Having a trio of Chase-Tyler Boyd-Tee Higgins will ensure Burrow almost always has an open pass-catcher when he drops back, so hopefully it leads to coverage sacks taking a major dip in 2021 and beyond.
This morning I watched every sack Joe Burrow took in 2020 and assigned a primary cause— Matt Minich (@CoachMinich) April 24, 2021
32% were coverage sacks
The offensive line needs help, and it’ll likely be what they target in Day 2. They improved the line by adding Riley Reiff, and to be honest, Reiff and Jonah Williams will be a solid tackle duo. The real need is at guard, though finding a tackle that could replace Reiff, who’s signed to essentially a one-year deal, would be very ideal.
Thankfully, the Bengals now have one of, if not the draft’s best playmakers on their roster.
Was Ja'Marr Chase be the right pick for the Bengals? @CincyJungle— SB Nation (@SBNation) April 30, 2021
In 2019, Chase caught 20 touchdowns on 84 receptions while averaging over 20 yards per catch as a true sophomore. Chase will be an excellent fit in the Queen City, and despite not going with a need, the Bengals crushed it with their top-five pick.
Now, let us know how you would grade this pick in the comments section!