Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
As of now, the Bengals taking a wide receiver in the first round next year may seem like a ludicrous idea. In 2020, the position is quite possibly their strongest on the entire roster. With five dangerous receivers in A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd, John Ross III, Tee Higgins, and Auden Tate, it seems redundant to add another so early in the draft. However, beyond this year the state of the position is much less certain.
Both Green and Ross are entering contract years in 2020, with Green on the one-year franchise tag and Ross entering into the final year of his rookie deal. While the Bengals could re-sign them at the end of the year, their play in 2020 will likely dictate that. Can they stay healthy? Can they put up the production that is needed from them? If the answers to these questions wind up being no, then the Bengals may let the two walk.
That’s where Ja’Marr Chase comes in. Chase was the top receiver for new Bengals’ quarterback Joe Burrow in his miraculous 2020 season. With Burrow as his quarterback in 2020, Chase caught 84 passes for 1,780 yards and 20 touchdowns. The Cincinnati front office would be smart to pair the duo back up again if the opportunity arises in 2021.
Chase would bring a whole lot of speed to the Bengals’ offense. If Ross leaves in free agency, speed would be the number one trait the front office would seek out in the draft. While Boyd, Higgins, and Tate are all very talented receivers, none of their games are centered on speed.
A starting wide receiver trio of Chase, Boyd, and Higgins could be an electric group at Burrow’s disposal for years to come, giving him one of the best receiver groups in the NFL for the majority of his rookie contract. The front office’s top priority should be to build around Burrow. What better way to build around a quarterback than by giving him a new favorite weapon?
Many will say that the offensive line should be the Bengals’ top priority, and it should be. However, Burrow will likely be pounding the table for his guy and the front office shouldn’t say no to the face of their franchise. Besides, the offensive line can wait for one more round if it means reuniting the best quarterback to wide receiver connection in CFB history.