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How the experts are grading Bengals’ pick of Ja’Marr Chase

Passing on a generational talent like Chase would have been hard to do.

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2021 NFL Draft Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

With the 5th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals took LSU Tigers wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase.

A lot of people in Cincinnati loved the pick, while others believed that the Bengals should have opted to improve their offensive line by taking Oregon Ducks tackle Penei Sewell. Sewell could be a special talent on the offensive line, but Chase is believed to be one of the best wide receiver talents in the past several years.

That said, here is how some of the experts graded the Bengals’ selection of chase with the 5th overall pick. A+

“We could sit here and talk about the marginal route-running issues or challenges getting off press. However, Chase is supremely talented as a ball winner and playmaker. After all, routes and release can be coached. His burst is effortless, which tends to catch coverage off guard when he really hits the vertical gas. His competitive nature and play strength simply act as multipliers for his outstanding ball skills.”

CBS Sports: B+

“Love this player. He will be a big-time pass catcher as he joins former college teammate, Joe Burrow. But I would have taken an offensive tackle here.”

The Athletic: B

“The Bengals have been locked on Chase from the start, so this is not a surprise. Cincinnati needed to replace A.J. Green’s 100-plus targets from a year ago, and the lack of a downfield receiving threat was a glaring hole in the Bengals’ offense last season. It is tough to pass on such a uniquely talented offensive lineman like Penei Sewell, but reuniting Chase and Joe Burrow to recapture that 2019 LSU magic certainly makes sense.”

Yahoo! Sports: A-

“They’ve been on Chase for a while now, with team owner Mike Brown reportedly stamping the final decision. Chase gives Joe Burrow three excellent wide receivers — Chase, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd — similar to what he had in college. Chase was his go-to guy, and it looks like a great match … if the protection holds up.”

Sports Illustrated: B

“The Bengals reunite Joe Burrow with his favorite receiver from LSU. Chase is a physically dominant wideout who plays bigger than his size. Possessing great speed, he can succeed deep, winning the ball at the catch point. Still evolving as a route runner, he has the physical tools to become a high-level separator. Chase is tough to tackle once the ball is in his hands.”

“Cincinnati has a need on the offensive line and a number of strong prospects sitting on the board. Their decision to go with the playmaker puts extra pressure on them to select blockers that can take pressure off of Burrow.”

The Sporting News: A-

“Joe Burrow gets the help he needs, just a little different from what many expected. Chase is an excellent all-around receiver who can line up everywhere and make big plays like a true No. 1. He has great established chemistry with Burrow from their explosive production together at LSU. Chase will make big Tee Higgins and slot ace Tyler Boyd even more dangerous against lesser coverage. The minus is simply for making the tough decision to go weapon over protection for Burrow in the form of an offensive tackle.”

USA Today: A+

“This is a strong class at the position, but what sets Chase apart is his ability to play the X receiver spot at a high level out of the gate. Staring down some of the best man coverage defenders the NCAA had to offer, Chase put together an impressive season back in 2019, when he was just 19 years old. He has true big play ability, with the potential to beat you deep with his speed but also his ability to turn slants into touchdowns with his strength and footwork. His versatility and strength make him the top option at this position on the board. Can we put more plusses on this one? Both Chase and Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow were at their best when playing together at LSU in 2019, and through there are still questions about Burrow’s protection, Chase is the best receiver in this class, perhaps the best offensive player, and this is the slam-dunk the Bengals had to do.”

Let us know in the comments section how you would grade the Bengals’ selection of Ja’Marr Chase with the 5th overall pick.

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