Just how good has Bengals rookie Ja’Marr Chase been?
In just five weeks, Bengals rookie Ja’Marr Chase has forced his name into the conversations of best young receivers. Here’s how he stacks up against his counterparts.
Every week, Ja’Marr Chase continues to prove that he is the absolute best receiver in his class. After five games, no other rookie pass-catcher stands close to the Cincinnati Bengals’ first-round pick in terms of production.
With the fifth pick in the draft, the Bengals made the wise decision to draft Chase and pair him alongside his former LSU quarterback Joe Burrow. In 2019, the two formed one of college football’s deadliest tandems in a season that eventually concluded with a National Championship for LSU and a bevy of awards between the two. Chase had 1,780 yards on 84 receptions and 20 touchdowns that season.
Just a couple of years later and that dynamic duo is now carving up NFL defenses.
How good has Ja’Marr Chase been?
In his first five games, Chase is 23 catches, 456 yards (seventh in the league), and five touchdowns (tied for second in the league). He’s third amongst rookies in receptions, leads all rookies in reception yards — he has 142 more yards than second-place DeVonta Smith, and no other rookie has more than one receiving touchdown.
The sky’s the limit for Chase but he’s already in some outstanding company this early in his career:
When your name is beside any record book alongside Randy Moss, then you’ve been doing something right. If he maintains his current pace, Chase can end his rookie campaign with about 1,550 yards, 17 touchdowns, and nearly 80 catches.
While Moss holds the rookie record for touchdown catches at 17, no rookie receiver has eclipsed the 1,500-yards mark but with Burrow having so much faith in Chase, this suddenly is a realistic goal.
The current record for rookie receiving yards is 1,473, set by Bill Groman in 1960. Minnesota’s Justin Jefferson, Chase and Burrow’s former teammate at LSU, is second on that list with 1,400 last season.
Chase and Burrow have an excellent connection
On the season, Chase and Burrow have a 148.5 passer rating together — this is ridiculous considering how frequently they are connecting in the air. They have a little ways to go to reach the record rating that Russell Wilson and Tyler Lockett set in 2018 when they had a perfect 158.3 on 70 completions, but Chase bolstering a perfect rating when targeted against man coverage is a good start.
As of today, Chase is the leading favorite for AFC Rookie of the Year and is clearly the best receiving option on the Bengals team. He’s so good that gaining a Pro-Bowl nod in his first season is a very real possibility.
It’s safe to say people won’t criticize the Bengals for making this pick anymore. Or at least they shouldn’t be.