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Joe Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase make PFF top 50

The Bengals’ duo receive high praise.

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NFL: AFC Championship-Cincinnati Bengals at Kansas City Chiefs
Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

It’s a job nobody wants, because there is just no way to make everyone happy.

Picking the 50 Best Players in the NFL Right Now is no easy task. If it were, anybody could do it. But Pro Football Focus (PFF) gave it a go recently, and the Cincinnati Bengals’ dynamic duo made the cut.

Joe Burrow, the Bengals’ quarterback who is universally regarded as the second-best signal caller in the league right now, came in at No. 10, with wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase making the grade at No. 20.

Burrow has taken the league by storm since Cincinnati made him the top overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft. Burrow’s rookie season ended with a torn ACL/MCL in his left knee in a Week 11 contest against the Washington Football Team.

Prior to that injury, in a Week 7 game against the Browns, Burrow became the first rookie quarterback with at least 400 passing yards, three passing touchdowns, and a rushing touchdown in a single game. Through his first eight games, he completed more passes (221) than any other player in NFL history.

In 2021, Burrow led Cincinnati to a spot in Super Bowl LVI before suffering a narrow defeat to the Los Angeles Rams, and was named Comeback Player of the Year by the Associated Press.

Last year, the Bengals finished with a record of 12-4, their best since 2015, and made a return appearance in the AFC Championship Game before eventually dropping a close contest to the eventual champion Kansas City Chiefs. PFF had this to say about the Cincinnati signal-caller:

“Burrow has finished each of the past two seasons leading the league or tied for the lead in overall PFF grade. His 91.0 PFF passing grade in 2022 was the best mark in the game, and he has consistently shown the kind of clutch performance that has allowed the Bengals to generate as much success as they have seen since the 1980s. Burrow is one of only a couple of quarterbacks who have the capacity to take it to Patrick Mahomes in any given week and expect to match him.”

The Bengals selected Ja’Marr Chase with the fifth pick in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, and he has not disappointed. After his first three games in the league, Chase had already racked up 220 receiving yards and four touchdowns, becoming the youngest player in NFL history to catch four touchdown passes in his first three games. His 754 receiving yards set an NFL record for the most ever by a player in their first seven career games.

In a Week 17 division-clinching win against the Kansas City Chiefs, Chase totaled 266 yards receiving, the most receiving yards by a rookie in NFL history, and three touchdowns, and was later named the Offensive Rookie of the Year by the Associated Press.

Injuries cost Chase four games last year, but he still managed to crack the 1,000-yard mark and actually tallied six more catches than the year before.

“Chase showed that his rookie season was no fluke, backing up that performance with another 1,000-yard season despite being limited to just 12 games in the regular season due to injury. He also led all receivers in the playoffs in targets (28), catches (22), and yards (220) despite the Bengals coming up just short of making the Super Bowl. He has no weaknesses in his game and is pretty dominant in most areas.”

While there is certainly an argument to be made that players like Trey Hendrickson, DJ Reader, and Tee Higgins were worthy of a spot in the top 50, there is no disputing the fact that Burrow and Chase are the glue that holds this team together.