The Cincinnati Bengals selected Ja’Marr Chase with the No. 5 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft and they did so to take their offense to the next level. Passing on a tackle in the first round was a risky decision but the Bengals believed that by adding Chase to their offense, they’ll be able to give Joe Burrow his favorite weapon from his LSU days and the Cincinnati offense will be electric.
Chase was sensational at LSU and the numbers he put up in 2019 with Burrow as his quarterback were a testament as to what he could do at the professional level. Chase had 84 receptions for 1,780 yards and an astounding 20 touchdowns in that 2019 season, paving way to one of the most explosive offensive seasons in college football history.
Chase didn’t play in 2020 but that 2019 campaign was enough to make him a top-five pick. He’ll now look to bring that 2019 magic to the Cincinnati Bengals and fortunately, he’ll be reunited with his quarterback who helped him put up such incredible numbers.
Can Bengals receiver Ja’Marr Chase realistically win Offensive Rookie of the Year?
It wouldn’t be farfetched whatsoever to think Chase could win the Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2021. He made Maurice Moton of Bleacher Report’s list of top five candidates to win the award this year, coming in at No. 3. The other four on the list were DeVonta Smith (No. 5), Zach Wilson (No. 4), Najee Harris (No. 2), and Trevor Lawrence (No. 1).
According to Moton, Chase was in the middle of the pack here because his repertoire with Burrow will obviously help him as far as trust levels go. Burrow knows what Chase can do and will look his way in a sticky situation. Chase trails Harris and Lawrence on the list because he has to split reps with Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins, both of whom will get plenty of looks from Burrow as well.
My argument to that is that Chase had to split time with Justin Jefferson during the 2019 season and both guys still were phenomenal. I’m not sure that’s really going to hold Chase back during his rookie year.
The Bengals haven’t had someone win Offensive Rookie of the Year since wide receiver Carl Pickens won it in 1992. It’d be quite the achievement if Chase could win it, but it’s tough not to give it to quarterbacks these days so that’s going to be the biggest challenge here.
Heck, Jefferson had 1,400 yards and seven touchdowns last year for the Vikings and was beat out by Justin Herbert (who started one less game) for OROTY. Maybe if Jefferson had double-digit touchdowns, things would have been different, but Chase is probably going to have to top 1,500 yards and find the end zone more than 10 times in order to be crowned Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Sounds doable, doesn’t it?