Cincinnati Bengals: Projecting rookie roles in 2021

Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /
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Cincinnati Bengals
Ja’Marr Chase #1 of the Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

The Cincinnati Bengals are at a vital turning point in their franchise’s history. A young quarterback at the helm, a head coach on the hot seat, a talented roster who can take this team to the next level, but can they live up to the modest expectations and the hope that the city of Cincinnati is feeling for the Bengals’ future?

It comes down to how this draft class performs, not only in their rookie season but throughout their rookie contracts. Here’s what to expect for the 2021 draft class in their rookie season.

Projecting Cincinnati Bengals Rookie Roles – Ja’Marr Chase (WR)

After a tantalizing offseason debate, the Bengals elected to go with the weapon over the offensive lineman with the fifth overall pick. With anyone selected fifth overall, the expectations are high and anything less than stellar will be seen as a disappointment.

Ja’Marr Chase comes to the Bengals after opting out of his junior year at LSU but his sophomore campaign, with Joe Burrow at the helm, was unlike anything the NCAA had seen before. By this point, all Cincinnati fans know about the 20 touchdown receptions and the nearly 1,800 yards. They know the ins and outs of his game as all Bengals analysts and bloggers have dissected every inch of game film.

But what is expected of Chase in his rookie year?

For starters, he should receive the bulk of the 104 targets left vacated by A.J. Green’s departure. Green caught only 47 of those targets, leaving much to be desired in that field. Chase should be able to catch a much higher percentage of those targets as his game is more dynamic than that of the aging Green.

Chase’s old LSU teammate, Justin Jefferson, had one of the best seasons that has ever been seen from a rookie receiver in the NFL and the Bengals should be expecting similar numbers to Jefferson. Ja’Marr Chase should easily eclipse 60-75 receptions and tally over 1,000 yards for Cincinnati in order to truly live up to his draft slot.