Well, who’s laughing now?
Chase went on to have the single greatest season a rookie receiver has ever had, winning OROTY in the process, and while yes, the offensive line was still bad, the Bengals made it to the Super Bowl in large part because of what Chase was able to accomplish.
With all of that said, if the 2021 NFL Draft took place knowing what we know now, where would Chase go? Would the Bengals have a chance to land him?
Chris Trapasso of CBS Sports conducted a redraft of last year’s event and unfortunately for Cincinnati, they would not have a shot at drafting Chase.
Ja’Marr Chase lands elsewhere in redraft of 2021 NFL Draft
Trapasso had the first three picks playing out the same way but instead of the Falcons going with Kyle Pitts, they took Chase instead.
"The Falcons didn’t hate the season they got from Kyle Pitts in 2021. But Chase was the runaway Offensive Rookie of the Year. This is a rather easy pick."
Yeah, Pitts had a great year in Atlanta but this pick still makes sense because Calvin Ridley wasn’t the same guy the Falcons had grown to rely on. Julio Jones had been traded so the birds needed a playmaker and Chase could have been that guy. I’m hesitant to say that Chase has the same season in Atlanta and probably isn’t Offensive Rookie of the Year but you never know.
So if the Bengals didn’t have a shot to take Chase, who did they draft instead?
Trapasso still had Cincinnati going with a receiver strangely enough, but instead of Chase, it was Alabama’s Jaylen Waddle, who went to Miami one pick after Chase in real time.
"With Chase off the board, the Bengals go with the turbo wideout who can win down the field and after the catch with explosiveness."
Honestly, with Chase off the board, I would have had the Bengals go with Rashawn Slater here instead of Waddle. The appeal of adding Chase was that he and Joe Burrow played together in college. The team didn’t need a wideout but figured the two could pick up where they left off at LSU.
Slater would have been an excellent pick here but with Trapasso going with Waddle, let’s discuss that. He was also reunited with his college quarterback and had an awesome rookie season, grabbing an absurd 104 receptions for 1,015 yards and six touchdowns while also scoring a rushing touchdown, giving him seven on the year.
Waddle would have done damage in this offense but if it wasn’t Chase, the Bengals would have needed to go offensive line.
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How would you have felt about Cincinnati drafting Jaylen Waddle if they couldn’t have had Ja’Marr Chase?