CINCINNATI — Ja'Marr Chase was the highest ranked player on the Bengals' board when they took him with the fifth pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. They believe he can have an instant impact on offense this season.
"What I really like about Ja'Marr is he has the size and the speed to play outside and the physicality. He also has the quickness and the body control to play inside as well," Bengals head coach Zac Taylor said this week. "He's really strong with the ball in his hands. He's a guy when you watch his tape he doesn't go down on the first hit."
Chase is essentially replacing Bengals legend A.J. Green, who made it to seven Pro Bowls in 10 seasons in Cincinnati. Despite a successful run for Green and a borderline Hall of Fame career, the rookie has more tools in his toolbox at this stage of their careers.
“I feel he’s more of a versatile player," Tyler Boyd said when comparing Chase to Green. "He can do jet sweeps, he can line up in the backfield, he can do things like that to utilize his abilities to line up in different positions. Not saying A.J. wasn’t doing that, but I think we got a lot more balance and can just call anything now. We don’t gotta worry about guys being in certain spots.
"He (Chase) adds a little bit more in his game because he can do a lot more, like come into the slot. Not saying A.J. couldn’t do that, but they’re two different players. But I feel like maybe he’s more into this offense [than A.J.] per se.”
Chase should fit right in with second-year wide-out Tee Higgins and Boyd. The duo both had a realistic chance at topping the 1,000-yard mark last season before Joe Burrow's injury. Now they have another weapon that should make life even easier on everyone involved.
"It gives you a lot of flexibility to move all three of those starting receivers around," Taylor said. "All of those guys really give us a lot of flexibility as play callers and coaches on offense to move those guys around and on a given concept put everybody in the best spot possible. That might be Ja'Marr (Chase) in the slot on one play and TB (Boyd) outside. Where another play big bodies like Auden Tate and Tee Higgins inside on a concept to maximize their height and range. It's a lot of fun to work with and gives us a lot of flexibility."
Chase has dreams of topping the 1,000-yard mark and scoring 10 or more touchdowns as a rookie. His teammates and coaches believe he can it and maybe even exceed those numbers this season.
"He’s going to bring some explosiveness to our offense," Burrow said. "He’s tough to tackle. Get the ball in his hands, he’s a big strong receiver that corners are going to have a tough time tackling him then he can take the top off a defense, so we have some great receivers, great weapons at our disposal."
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