While the 2021 NFL Draft is still 31 days away there’s already murmurings of where Ja’Marr Chase’s professional future lies and it appears a reunion with Joe Burrow in Cincinnati is likely.
The speculation that Chase would go fifth overall hit new levels when the San Francisco 49ers moved up to the No. 3 spot in the draft in a trade with the Miami Dolphins last week. With the top three of the draft now slated as the Jacksonville Jaguars picking first, New York Jets picking second, and 49ers it’s very likely the first three picks are quarterbacks. The Atlanta Falcons, picking fourth, could also be looking for their quarterback of the future or perhaps on draft night a QB-needy team makes a deal to jump into that fourth spot.
Which brings us to Cincinnati who definitely has its quarterback of the future in Joe Burrow. Burrow has reportedly been urging the Bengals to take Chase with the fifth pick per Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer.
And with the Eagles believing there is a pretty good chance the Bengals will take LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase at five (we mentioned in our mock this week that Joe Burrow has given Cincinnati’s brass a glowing recommendation)
Burrow and Chase’s chemistry played a massive role in LSU’s dominant 2019 season. Burrow of course won the Heisman while Chase took home the Bilentikoff. Chase caught 84 passes from Burrow for 1,780 yards and 20 touchdowns, both of which are single-season school records.
The question for the Bengals is taking a receiver—even one as great as Chase—the right move considering Cincinnati’s awful offensive line. Burrow was sacked an alarming 32 times in only 10 games before tearing his ACL against Washington. The Bengals did go out and sign veteran offensive tackle Riley Reiff in free agency but the interior of the line is still a question mark. Might it be more prudent for the Bengals to take someone like Oregon’s Penei Sewell, who most outlets agree is a generational talent at tackle, or Northwestern’s Rashawn Slater who could play and excel at any of the five offensive linemen positions? While it would be fun to see Burrow dropping dimes to Chase again, what good would it do if Burrow has to pick himself off the turf every other play?
The flip side is teams can never have enough playmakers and Chase is maybe the best wide receiver to come out since Julio Jones. The Bengals have good but not great talent surrounding Burrow and Chase could absolutely be Cincinnati’s No. 1 wide receiver.
Chase and his other fellow draft hopeful teammates will work out for scouts at LSU’s pro day tomorrow. The NFL Draft, which will be held in Cleveland, begins April 29 and concludes May 1.