The Bengals added LSU WR Ja’Marr Chase with the 5th overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft. Chase opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID concerns but had nothing left to prove after a massive 2019. He set single-season SEC records with 1,780 yards and 20 TDs. And he did it as a true sophomore battling for targets with Justin Jefferson, who just set the record for receiving yards by a rookie, and Terrace Marshall, who is expected to be a 1st- or 2nd-rounder this year. Chase goes 6’0, 201 pounds but plays bigger. He’s physical through his routes, at the catch point and after the catch. And he’s excellent going deep, leading the nation with 24 catches 20+ yards downfield in 2019, per Pro Football Focus. Chase blew up his Pro Day, blazing a 4.34-second 40-yard dash and registering a huge 41-inch vertical to earn a 98th percentile Relative Athletic Score. “Chase is one of the best wide receivers in the last 10 years,” a longtime scout told The Athletic’s Bob McGinn. “He can take an underneath ball and go 80 yards. He can just run right by you and catch it 60 yards downfield. He’s built like a fullback almost, but can run like a wide receiver. He’s as good as it gets.” Chase reunites with QB Joe Burrow in Cincinnati as part of a loaded WR corps alongside Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd. Any of those 3 could lead the team in targets this season.
Bengals WR Ja'Marr Chase has had a "fantastic week" of practice, The Athletic's Paul Dehner writes. It's certainly noteworthy after an early-August report that he was struggling in camp and then a 3-drop 2nd preseason game. We're not worried about Chase's on-field performance. It's the target competition and volume projection that's keeping him suppressed in the WR rankings.
Bengals rookie WR Ja’Marr Chase endured a rough outing Friday night in the team’s 2nd preseason contest. The 1st-round pick dropped all 3 of his targets vs. Washington. Drops weren’t a problem for Chase in college. Pro Football Focus charted him with just 5 among 118 targets in 2019, his final campaign at LSU. And we’re not generally too concerned with a WR’s drops in the NFL. But Chase’s lackluster performance stands as another signal we should be cautious about trusting the rookie for big fantasy football production right away. We’ll see whether the latest display knocks his ADP down, though.
The Athletic's Paul Dehner lists WR Ja'Marr Chase as 1 of the fallers of the first couple of weeks of Bengals training camp. "His skill set is that unique. You see flashes of that early, but you also see somebody tentatively getting used to a new offense, new league and not playing football since January 2020," Dehner writes. "He has endured a string of drops, on short and long passes, with another coming Sunday. He has not shown as much separation as you’d hope, and the contested balls haven’t gone his way much, either." It's not a major surprise that Chase is off to a slow start after opting out of the 2020 season -- but it is at least part of the reason that we have him as overvalued at his 4th- or 5th-round price tag.
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