Drafting Ja’Marr Chase over Penei Sewell considered Bengals’ riskiest move
By now, Cincinnati Bengals fans have gotten used to the criticism their team has received for going with Ja’Marr Chase No. 5 overall instead of Penei Sewell, the highest-rated offensive lineman in the draft. It was a puzzling decision considering what happened to Joe Burrow last year and the fact that the Bengals didn’t even really need help at receiver.
Gary Davenport of Bleacher Report said that the Bengals’ decision to draft Chase over Sewell was their riskiest move of the offseason.
"Burrow’s rookie season was filled with pass-rushers in Burrow’s grill and ended by a torn ACL. For all the improvements made to the Bengals offensive line, Pro Football Focus still ranked it 24th in the league entering the season.If Jonah Williams can’t stay healthy, Burrow takes another beating and Sewell shines in Motown, there might be some regrets about taking the team’s newest pass-catcher."
Yeah yeah, we get it. Davenport even jokes in the section about how he knows Bengals fans are tired of hearing about this but the fact of the matter is that until we see what Chase and Sewell do on the field, this will continue to be brought up. Chase might not ever live up to the hype if Sewell goes on to be an All-Pro tackle and while that’s unfair, it’s the nature of the NFL.
The Bengals’ decision to take Ja’Marr Chase over Penei Sewell was risky.
Sewell would have provided an upgrade to the offensive line and there’s no debating that. The team added Riley Reiff through free agency while drafting Jackson Carman, D’Ante Smith, and Trey Hill in the second, fourth, and sixth rounds respectively so it’s not like the Bengals just sat back and did nothing to their o-line. That being said, Sewell would have been a tremendous addition to a weak unit.
Chase, meanwhile, makes the Bengals’ wide receiver room one of the best in the league but it wasn’t necessarily a position the team needed to address. Yes, they clearly wanted to give Burrow his favorite weapon from his LSU days, but Burrow would have been fine with Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins, and Auden Tate as his main three receivers.
Chase is going to be a good player in Cincinnati but if Sewell is an All-Pro tackle for the Lions, this topic is only going to continue.