Bengals: Ja’Marr Chase is going to be the best rookie receiver in 2021

The Cincinnati Bengals took a big risk when they passed on Penei Sewell and took Ja’Marr Chase No. 5 overall instead. They’re expecting huge production from Chase during his rookie season and as a result, Cynthia Frelund of NFL.com said Chase will be the most productive rookie receiver.

Frelund started off by saying:

Next Gen Stats shows that the Bengals used 11 personnel (1 RB, 1 TE, 3 WR) on the greatest percentage of snaps in the NFL last season (75.4), setting up nicely for Chase to immediately be on the field with both Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd.

The Bengals added to a unit they didn’t even need to add to, as they had both Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins already on their roster. Both guys were outstanding in 2020 and the need for a wide receiver wasn’t really there because of that. Adding Chase only makes this group stronger.

Having three top-notch wide receivers on offense means that at least one guy is going to get his when the Bengals go up against defense. They can’t defend all three receivers.

Frelund continued with:

As for Chase’s impact potential from a reunion with his LSU quarterback, Joe Burrow, one area that flags for success is deep passes (20-plus air yards). Last season, Cincinnati receivers averaged just 6.9 yards per target, the second-lowest mark in the NFL (NGS).

A big reason as to why the Bengals likely passed on Sewell for Chase is that Chase has a previous connection with quarterback Joe Burrow. Getting Burrow his favorite weapon from a season where he threw for over 6,000 yards was a smart move on the Bengals’ end because it’s important to make your quarterback happy.

Bengals WR Ja’Marr Chase is on pace for a huge rookie season.

Frelund finished up her segment on Chase with this analysis:

And in that national title campaign, Chase was computer vision’s most open receiver (judged by percentage of targets where he had at least 3 yards to work with) on passes intended to travel more than 10 air yards. Furthermore, his speed on yards after the catch in that Biletnikoff Award-winning season featured the least erosion (which is a measurement of fatigue) between game start and game end in the SEC — and that conference boasted spectacular receiving talent in 2019.

It’s no secret that Cincinnati’s offense got better with the addition of Chase and there’s a solid chance that he makes a strong push for the Offensive Rookie of the Year award. He’ll have stiff competition there, as there are several rookie quarterbacks who are looking to steal that title from him and it’s easier for a quarterback to win the title than a receiver.

Still, as the first receiver selected in the draft, all eyes will be on Chase to lead the charge at the position for the rookies and he has a good chance to do just that.