The Cincinnati Bengals took former LSU star receiver Ja’Marr Chase No. 5 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft. They received quite a bit of attention for passing up on the draft’s best offensive lineman, Penei Sewell.
Chase was the second non-quarterback taken in the draft. However, his talent wasn’t on full display in the preseason as he dropped four of his five targets. Now, there’s still very little concern for Chase’s talent in the Queen City.
But, you’d be ridiculous to say it isn’t the least bit notable.
Chase played as a sophomore at LSU, took the 2020 season off, and was drafted to the NFL where he’s having to play against some of the best in the world. Without much time against elite competition since 2019, getting back into form has taken longer than expected.
Cincinnati Bengals’ analyst Dave Lapham pointed out on the Bengals Booth Podcast a simple yet necessary aspect of what Chase must do, and that is to get back to the fundamentals of catching the ball.
“He’s gotta get out of his own head,” Lapham stated. “He’s got to get to the basic fundamentals. The 1-2-3 of catching the football. And the first thing you have to do is keep your eyes on the football.
“Look the football into your hands. Don’t take your head away before the football hits your hands and try to locate defensive players too soon. Catch it first, and you gotta take baby steps. It’s gotta be an A-B-C process, and he’s gotta get step A down first, catch the football.”
The skill is clearly there for Chase. He had 84 receptions and scored 20 touchdowns as a sophomore (remember LSU won the national championship that season as well), eclipsing 1,750 yards.
Chase is that good, and with Burrow as his quarterback once again, there should be hope he eventually silences all those currently doubting him.