Bengals Chase Down Prized Burrow Target At No. 5

Geoff Hobson

The Bengals re-united faculty soccer’s record-breaking quarterback-receiver mixture throughout Thursday evening’s first spherical of the NFL Draft with the hope that LSU extensive receiver Ja’Marr Chase may also help Joe Burrow repeat historical past with a Super Bowl championship.

In what seemed to be a detailed name with Oregon left sort out Penei Sewell on the No. 5 spot, the Bengals opted for Chase’s vertical risk and a previous with Burrow that encompasses the magical 2019 season they led the unbeaten Tigers to a nationwide championship.

Both Chase and Sewell opted out of the 2020 season, however that did not stop the Bengals from rating them excessive up their board.

While Burrow gained the Heisman Trophy with an NCAA-record 60 landing passes, Chase caught an SEC-record 20 of them to go together with one other league-best 1,780 yards.

According to Elias Sports Bureau, it is the primary time within the 54 years of the widespread draft that an NFL staff has chosen a quarterback-receiver combo from the identical faculty within the prime 5 throughout consecutive drafts.

The 6-0, 200-pound Chase, 21, the primary Bengal born on this century, now strains up throughout from final yr’s first choose within the second spherical in extensive receiver Tee Higgins to take throws from final yr’s general No. 1 choose as head coach Zac Taylor provides one other weapon to his playbook for the 2020s.

But it is a choose that may have quick impression in 2021 given Chase’s familiarity with Burrow and the LSU wrinkles the offense integrated within the wake of final yr’s draft.

“It’s not a negative, that’s for sure,” Taylor mentioned earlier this week of Chase’s historical past with Burrow. “You get a chance to see at LSU in particular, they’ve had a lot of players come out the last two years. Some of them didn’t play this year, some of them did. You get a chance to see an offense that is very similar to a lot of pro systems so there’s not a lot of guess work in terms of how they’re going to translate.”

Burrow has mentioned he hasn’t lobbied for Chase or any of the highest prospects and he did not watch the March 31 campus exercise at Baton Rouge, the place Chase ripped off a 4.38-second 40-yard sprint to go together with a large 41-inch vertical leap.

But Burrow informed former Bengals extensive receiver Cris Collinsworth on his podcast final week that Chase has his type of work ethic.

“I didn’t watch the pro day. I know what Ja’Marr can do. I didn’t have to watch the pro day,” Burrow mentioned. “He’s a lot like me. He was in there every Saturday with me throwing, getting up early. He’s that kind of guy. He’s a great person, great dude, great player. He and I got along very (well).”

As the Bengals transfer on from A.J. Green, the seven-time Pro Bowler who stays the Bengals’ highest drafted receiver at No. 4 ten years in the past, and John Ross, the No. 9 choose 4 years in the past, they’re on the lookout for Chase to produce the deep risk that was lacking final yr.

Pro Football Focus graded Burrow with an off-the-charts 98.2 when he focused Chase on throws 20 yards or longer two years in the past. The website online had Burrow for simply 61.5 on these 20-yard throws in his rookie yr.

“Certain receivers just have a way of getting separation at the top of the route,” Burrow informed Collinsworth. “Whether they’re accelerating past them or they get a little push, whatever it is, he’s got that receiver ability to just run past people. He ran a 4.38 I think it was, but I didn’t expect it. Nobody is catching him, though. He just has a great way of getting open. He has a great feel for zone, great feel for man. He’s a complete player.”

When Chase Zoomed with the media after the professional day, he mentioned a number of the Bengals stuff seems acquainted however cautioned in regards to the connection re-igniting immediately.

“I would have an advantage if I was to play with him only because we played a couple of years,” Chase mentioned. (*5*)

The Bengals little question solicited Burrow’s opinion on Chase. Kevin Coyle provided one, too, to again in March. Coyle, the long-time Bengals secondary coach earlier than turning into a defensive analyst at LSU, noticed Chase every single day and says he is bought what it takes to be an elite NFL receiver.

“The thing I think a lot of people will be shocked at is just how strong this guy is,” says Coyle, who coached the Bengals secondary for 13 seasons.

“He’ll block. He’ll knock the crap out of a safety. He’ll lock up a corner. He’s not afraid to get his nose dirty. You could put him at running back to get the ball in his hands. Pound for pound he’s one of the strongest players on the team. Clearly he’s one of the top players coming out in the draft … There’s nothing he can’t do.”

Chase, who grew up in suburban New Orleans with an inventory of targets on his mirror, mirrored all of it in what turned out to be the final recreation of his faculty profession on Jan. 13, 2020. He returned residence to assist Burrow lead LSU to the nationwide title on the Mercedes-Benz Superdome with a College Football Playoff championship-record 221 receiving yards throughout a 42-25 victory over Clemson he confirmed all his wares.

He arrange on one landing on a 43-yard catch-and-run display screen go and scored one on a 52-yard landing bomb from Burrow as he noticed Chase with a step forward of Clemson cornerback AJ Terrell down the correct sideline.

Terrell, later that yr the sixteenth choose within the draft, got here into the title recreation not giving up greater than 60 yards in a recreation to a receiver, in accordance with PFF.

“They played press-man coverage on me,” Chase informed the media after the sport. “Joe wants to take that every time.”

It’s that point once more.

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