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NFL Draft 2021: Why Ja'Marr Chase will be the first wide receiver drafted?

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Ja'Marr Chase celebrates against Alabama.
Kyle Heim
ANALYST
Modified 27 Apr 2021
Feature

It's difficult to imagine a wide receiver not being drafted in the first 10 picks of the 2021 NFL Draft, which kicks off Thursday night in Cleveland, Ohio.

The Cincinnati Bengals will be on the clock with the fifth pick, and they desperately need to get 2020 No. 1 pick Joe Burrow some help along the offensive line. Oregon left tackle Penei Sewell, measuring at 6-6, 331 pounds, could fill that need.

Or, the Bengals could address another need and give Burrow a pass-catching weapon to replace AJ Green. Enter Louisiana State University wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase.

Why Chase is a good fit with the Bengals?

Chase and Burrow have some history together.

The duo helped lead LSU to a 42-25 victory in the College Football Playoff National Championship in 2020, connecting nine times for 221 yards.

Chase, not Justin Jefferson, who recorded 1,400 receiving yards in his rookie year with the Minnesota Vikings, was Burrow's top target.

Chase's game-changing speed and elite route running abilities culminated in 84 catches, 1,780 yards and 20 touchdowns in 2019. If the Bengals decide to hold off on drafting an offensive lineman until the later rounds, they could give Burrow and Chase an opportunity to recreate some of the magic they produced in college.

What if the Bengals don't draft Chase?

The Bengals could easily address their biggest need Thursday night and draft an offensive tackle with the fifth pick. If they do, the two teams drafting directly behind them would become candidates to draft Chase.

The Miami Dolphins pick sixth and could decide to pair second-year quarterback Tua Tagovailoa with another receiving weapon to complement DeVante Parker.

Detroit is the third team in a row -- the Lions own the seventh pick in the draft -- that has a need at wide receiver after losing Kenny Golladay to the Giants in free agency, and it's hard to imagine new quarterback Jared Goff having any qualms with the Lions drafting a playmaker for the offense.

Published 27 Apr 2021
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