The Cincinnati Bengals had a number of needs entering the NFL Draft. Did they make the right decision with wide receiver, Ja’Marr Chase?
For months leading up to the draft, LSU wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase was a player that was on the Cincinnati Bengals radar. In 2020, the Bengals took quarterback Joe Burrow with the first overall pick in the NFL Draft, and they followed up that pick by taking wide receiver Tee Higgins with the first pick in the second round.
In 2021, the Bengals held the 5th overall draft selection, and many analysts were lobbying for Cincinnati to go with an elite offensive lineman prospect. After three straight quarterbacks were taken to begin the draft, the Atlanta Falcons took tight end, Kyle Pitts – giving the Bengals their pick of the top player at every other position.
With a receiving corps that already consisted of two young, promising players in Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins, did the Cincinnati Bengals make the right move by going with Ja’Marr Chase?
Chase will prove to be what Bengals need
The Bengals offensive line was in shambles last year, and they have several players that really needed to be upgraded. With Penei Sewell and Rashawn Slater ripe for the picking with the 5th overall pick, taking one of those elite offensive line prospects would have been tempting. However, I don’t necessarily think that Cincinnati made the wrong move. In fact, taking Chase could very well prove to be the best thing the Bengals could have done with this pick.
There are a lot of quality wide receivers in the NFL, and every team has three or four guys they really like. However, there are only a handful of receivers in the league that is considered in the ‘elite’ class of players, and Ja’Marr Chase certainly has all of the traits to be one of them.
Chase is an incredibly gifted athlete who had outstanding production as a sophomore at LSU in 2019. His physical demeanor, natural movement skills, and powerful hands should easily translate to NFL success.
In addition, I understand the logic behind trying to get your young quarterback everything he needs to be successful. While Sewell and Slater would have also helped in this department, Chase gives Joe Burrow a legitimate number one receiving threat, as he is a generational wide receiver prospect.
Factoring in the value of the positions in the draft class was also wise on the part of Cincinnati. Though they missed out on the first few waves of talent on the offensive line, they were able to land Clemson’s Jackson Carmen in the second round and found great value with East Carolina OT D’Ante Smith and Georgia IOL Trey Hill late in the draft.
Joe Burrow is still going to have to run like a chicken with its head cut off at times because of a breakdown in pass protection. However, pairing him with his favorite target from college and giving him an elite number one pass-catcher will go a long way in his development and helping this Bengals offense in the future.