There has and we be plenty of debate over whether the Bengals made the right choice in selecting wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase of offensive lineman Penei Sewell with the fifth overall selection.
“Ja’Marr Chase is a very unusual athlete. His explosiveness is off the charts,” Lapham said in a recent video posted on his YouTube channel. “This guy has functional football ability based on his physical unique talents and his explosiveness and everything that goes with it.”
Add Chase’s sub 4.40 second 40-yard dash and Chase had all the sheer athleticism you’d like to see from a top five selection, and he should add the ability to take the top off the defense, which was severely missing last season.
The thing that put Chase over the top as a prospect is the fact he is more than just a fast receiver to get safeties off Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins’ backs. He is a receiver that plays much bigger than his 6 foot stature., and he also has the agility to really change direction quickly while running routes.
“He’s a great route runner. He’s strong. He throws defensive backs around,” Lapham stated. “When he’s running routes there’s two ways you can form separation or create separation in your route running: blow by people, which he does.
“Also, a subtle nudge, a subtle push, a little armbar, or whatever the case may be at the top of the route to get separation. This guy has big play written all over him.
“How will it effect the offense? Make Joe Burrow better based on what they did together in 2019. It’ll help Joe Mixon as well, because there will be less people in the box.”
What Chase does for this offense is make everyone’s job a little easier. If team’s defend this offense like they did last year, Chase will feast in one-on-one situations. If they move the safeties back then it opens things up for Joe Mixon in the running game and Boyd and Higgins underneath and in intermediate routes.
While adding Sewell would’ve been an upgrade at offensive tackle, his addition wouldn’t have gotten defenders out of the box, and at some point it doesn’t matter if you have 3 or 4 good offensive linemen. If you don’t have an offense that can force the defense into a six-man box when you have three wide receivers lining up, then your offense isn’t going to be productive.
With Chase, Boyd and Higgins leading the way, the sky is the limit for Burrow and this passing game to force the defense to back off.