2021 NFL Mock Draft: Cincinnati Bengals reunite Joe Burrow together with his school teammate


The Bengals have quite a lot of areas of want, however in a giant image sense, the highest precedence is constructing an offensive core to develop with Joe Burrow. Tee Higgins is coming off a very good rookie yr, and Tyler Boyd is sweet within the slot, however one other outdoors weapon could be welcome, and higher go safety could be as nicely. Enter Ja’Marr Chase.

Penei Sewell could be a consideration right here if he have been nonetheless on the board, however he’s not on this situation, and whereas I believe Rashawn Slater is sweet, I believe he’d be a slight attain right here. Within the “weapons for Burrow” class, the primary different issues are DeVonta Smith and Kyle Pitts. I like each of them quite a bit and count on each to be good NFL gamers. I believe Smith is being underrated due to his Todd Pinkston construct, nevertheless it actually doesn’t trigger him any issues on tape. Pitts is a WR/TE hybrid kind of participant who may be moved round and create matchup issues, however he doesn’t separate nicely sufficient vs. CBs to make me see him as a full-time WR, and I don’t suppose passing on an elite WR prospect for him is the precise transfer for Cincy. In the end, Chase simply makes an excessive amount of sense to go up right here.

School Efficiency

As you’re most likely conscious, Chase broke out in an unlimited approach as a real sophomore as a part of an LSU offense that set quite a lot of data and steamrolled its approach to a nationwide championship. He had 84 catches for 1780 yards and 20 TDs, successful the Biletnikoff Award because the nation’s prime WR. On a star-studded offense with future NFL star Justin Jefferson (painful, I do know), Chase was the clear #1 WR that defenses targeted on. Furthermore, he did all of this as a 19-year-old going through excessive finish CBs like 1st spherical picks C.J. Henderson, A.J. Terrell, and Noah Igbinoghene, 2nd spherical choose Trevon Diggs, and third rounder Cameron Dantzler, and he dominated most of these matchups besides Dantzler (the place he nonetheless managed 5 catches for 41 and a TD).

Chase selected to take a seat out his junior yr, and when you’d at all times like extra tape to judge, the choice was comprehensible provided that there was no approach to increase his inventory any additional, and enjoying at all times brings the danger of great damage. In any case, we all know his efficiency was off-the-charts good. Let’s have a look at how he did it.

Bodily Attributes

Chase’s bodily measurements (6-0 3/8, 201 lbs) are nearly precisely common for an NFL WR. That’s okay! Many of the NFL’s prime receivers not named Metcalf or Hill are principally related dimension to Chase. His athletic testing numbers are literally a bit higher than I’d have guessed from his tape. 40 time is almost ineffective for predicting WR success, however I’m certain he was nonetheless pleased with a 4.38, and his agility drills (3.98 shuttle, 7.00 3-cone), and jumps (41” vertical, 11-0 broad) spherical out an athletic profile that’s elite throughout the board. On tape, the bodily traits that stand out are much less the uncooked pace than his energy, stability, physique management, and quickness.


“Route-running” is type of a giant class that encompasses a number of issues: bodily attributes like agility to make sharp cuts with out dropping pace, approach like acceptable footwork, really feel for locating holes in zone protection, deceptiveness with fakes, double-moves, various speeds, and many others. With draft prospects, I’m often wanting much less for the technical polish and extra the issues like motion abilities, deceptiveness, really feel for organising defenders, and understanding the place it is advisable be.

Chase is an excellent route runner, if not essentially a flashy one. He actually excels at stacking CBs shortly in vertical routes, typically after beating them on the line (extra on that later), a part of what made him the most efficient downfield receiver within the nation in 2019 (a staggering 24/36 for 840 yds and 14 TDs on throws 20+ yards downfield). He can also make fast, fluid modifications of route. He ran principally a full commonplace route tree and usually ran it nicely.

Right here he’s operating a dig route in opposition to Texas A&M. Nothing flashy, however a key right here is that he subtly shifts towards the surface to get himself into the zone defender’s blind spot earlier than making his break on the prime of the route, which makes it troublesome for the DB to know whether or not he’s breaking in or persevering with downfield. By the point he sees, it’s too late to react.

And right here he’s in opposition to Trevon Diggs snapping off a pleasant comeback route. He makes use of his palms to win on the line and will get even with Diggs, who has to respect the vertical risk. Consequently, he’s toast when Chase makes a fast fluid flip to get separation. The stability to interrupt his deal with and acquire further yards on the finish is only a bonus.


If you wish to be an X receiver within the NFL, you want to have the ability to beat press protection. There are a number of methods to do that—quickness and agility that make it onerous for a defender to get palms on you, misleading launch bundle, energy to run via contact, and many others. For Chase, his calling card is his palms. He has violent palms that permit him primarily wipe away the arms of CBs making an attempt to press him, and often get into his routes with a bonus. You see this again and again in his tape, however he actually placed on a clinic on this regard in opposition to A.J. Terrell.

This play got here towards the tip of the sport and Burrow didn’t see him, however Chase wins on the line together with his palms nearly instantly and this is able to be a protracted play if Burrow had appeared in his route.

This can be a easy pace launch to the surface. Chase will get the benefit shortly. Terrell tries to make use of his hand to remain related, however Chase chops his arm away to separate and get an enormous acquire downfield

Right here we see extra nice hand utilization to get Terrell off him and off-balance sufficient that Chase can get by him. He additionally exhibits good ball monitoring right here and burst to drag away on the finish.

Ball abilities are actually one of many issues that makes Chase so particular. He has nice palms and extremely good ball monitoring capacity, in addition to nice leaping and talent to benefit from the superior positions that he will get himself into. All of this makes him significantly better on the catch level than you would possibly count on given his common dimension.

This ball is underthrown by Burrow, and Diggs is in fairly good place in protection, nevertheless it finally ends up not mattering because of Chase’s capacity to trace the ball, then go up and assault it within the air.

Right here Chase beats press protection, wins on a go route and makes a pleasant adjustment to get the ball on a again shoulder throw and hold his ft in bounds.

After Catch Means

Chase successfully turns right into a operating again as soon as he has the ball in his palms. He’s not overly shifty, and also you received’t see Jeudy-like ankle-breaking jukes, however he has good imaginative and prescient to associate with top-notch energy and stability to interrupt tackles. You wouldn’t suppose somebody together with his measurements could be so onerous to deliver down, however he’s actually powerful to deal with. Curiously, LSU hardly ever used him on screens, however his tape with the ball in his palms suggests he might be productive on these as a professional.

Right here we see his ridiculous contact stability and energy in motion. Word that every one these defenders nonetheless by no means really introduced him down—the play received blown useless for ahead progress.

This play is a pleasant encapsulation of his RAC skills: catches a slant, breaks a deal with, then has the imaginative and prescient and understanding of find out how to use his downfield blocker to get a TD when it initially seems like defenders could have an angle on him.

Potential Considerations and Conclusion

One potential query mark is that we’ve solely ever seen Chase produce with Joe Burrow as his QB. Chase did quite a lot of work getting Burrow someplace to throw the ball, however these home windows have been typically tight, and the manufacturing most likely wouldn’t look pretty much as good with a lesser QB. This is perhaps extra trigger for concern if not for the truth that the Bengals are clearly additionally planning for Joe Burrow to be his QB for the lengthy haul. Burrow, after all, needs his outdated school weapon, and it’s good to know that the 2 have already got that chemistry the place every is aware of what the opposite goes to do.

If I needed to choose my largest concern with Chase, it will be how nicely he’ll separate in opposition to high-end NFL CBs. He will get separation routinely in opposition to even high-level school competitors, nevertheless it’s typically the “simply sufficient” number of separation the place he has the DB stacked however can nonetheless be caught as much as. He doesn’t typically make a transfer that will get him actually open vs. off-man protection, and he’s extra of a tackle-breaker than a shifty make-you-miss kind when he has the ball. He may typically appear to be a bit lackadaisical on performs the place he’s not closely concerned.

All of that’s sort of quibbling, although. What’s straightforward to overlook about all of that is that Chase was simply nineteen when he was setting the world on fireplace at LSU. He might simply be scratching the floor of his skills, which must be a scary thought for the NFL groups he’ll be going through. Weirdly, the participant comparability that stored coming to thoughts watching Chase was Larry Fitzgerald when he was in school. Fitz is clearly greater, and Chase might be quicker, however the model, the elite stability, physique management, and ball abilities to dominate at a younger age all remind me of him. The Bengals shouldn’t overthink this one.


Do you approve of this choose?

  • 87%


    (365 votes)

  • 12%


    (52 votes)

417 votes complete

Vote Now

2021 BGN Mock Draft Order

1) Jaguars (Phoenix X Minimus): QB Trevor Lawrence
2) Jets (eagles.north.of.the.border): QB Zach Wilson
3) 49ers (I Want a Username): QB Trey Lance
4) Falcons (chewy wellington): OT Penei Sewell
5) Bengals (Dr_Horrible): WR Ja’Marr Chase
6) Dolphins (20Safety_Hazard):
7) Lions (drc242):
8) Panthers (wildcatlh):
9) Broncos (ItownBallers22):
10) Cowboys (Kephas):
11) Giants (Billmington):
12) Eagles (ablesser88):
13) Chargers (Georgia_eagle):
14) Vikings (Philliesandthebees):
15) Patriots (SakPrescott):
16) Cardinals (Carson Wentzs ACL):
17) Raiders (dshelton5):
18) Dolphins (J. Wil):
19) Soccer Crew (Negadelphia Norm):
20) Bears (Happy24):
21) Colts (CSsdV):
22) Titans (Pleasant Neighborhood Philly Fan):
23) Jets (Asap Stocky):
24) Steelers (Gregnado):
25) Jaguars (“Snax”):
26) Browns (gerouxman1956):
27) Ravens (Brendanekstrom):
28) Saints (grantspectations):
29) Packers (Philly_Philly):
30) Payments (doublefry):
31) Chiefs (Leo Bedio):
32) Buccaneers (phuckdallas):

Now it’s time so that you can vote for who YOU suppose must be chosen within the 2021 BGN Group Consensus Mock Draft.


Who ought to the Cincinnati Bengals draft at No. 5?

  • 66%

    WR Ja’Marr Chase

    (196 votes)

  • 21%

    OT Rashawn Slater

    (62 votes)

  • 11%

    TE Kyle Pitts

    (35 votes)

293 votes complete

Vote Now

1) Jaguars: QB Trevor Lawrence
2) Jets: QB Zach Wilson:
3) 49ers: QB Justin Fields
4) Falcons: OT Penei Sewell
5) Bengals:


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