When the clock started for Cincy Jungle with pick No. 5, the world was the Bengals’ oyster. Cincinnati doesn’t need a quarterback after selecting Joe Burrow with the first overall pick in 2020, so they could watch quarterbacks fly off the board with the first four picks with no cares in the world.
The decision they made would mean an LSU reunion in Cincinnati. With the fifth overall pick in our NFL writers’ mock draft, the Bengals select Burrow’s former college teammate, wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase out of LSU.
Reuniting Ja’Marr Chase with Joe Burrow is just too good to pass up for the Bengals right now. Chase has been compared to DeAndre Hopkins, since both wide receivers play so much bigger than they actually are. Chase is roughly 6’ tall, but the way he can go up and make contested catches would make you think he towers over defensive backs. The decision becomes that much easier now that he has also shown he has elite speed by running a sub-4.4 second 40-yard dash at LSU’s pro day.
That pro day 40 time ties Chase at 11th out of NFL hopeful performances at pro days this year, but Chase didn’t just show off his speed at his pro day. He also excelled with a 41’ vertical jump and 11-foot broad jump, both testaments to his athleticism.
Chase opted out of the 2020 season, but his 2019 numbers speak for themselves. With Burrow as his quarterback, Chase hauled in 84 passes for 1,780 yards and 20 touchdowns en route to winning a national championship with the Tigers. With that level of production, Chase at least deserves an honorable mention alongside Joe Burrow’s well deserved Heisman win.
Some may scratch their heads as to why the Bengals would pass up an offensive lineman here considering Burrow’s injury from last season and how often he got pressured. This offensive line class is very deep, and they are still going to be able to add at least one starter on Day 2 of the draft.
Adding a weapon who had Chase’s gaudy numbers in 2019 will help replace the targets left behind with A.J. Green’s departure. It should also help free up things underneath for players like Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins. Overall, it means a young quarterback won’t have to sit back and hold the ball as long.
Top players remaining:
- Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
- Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
- Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
- Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
- Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan