CINCINNATI — There's plenty of debate about what the Bengals should do with the fifth pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Some think they should take Penei Sewell. Others are all-in on Ja'Marr Chase.
The 21-year-old could be the next great NFL wide receiver. He surprised scouts at his pro day last month when he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.38 seconds. He's big, physical and can run with the best receivers on the planet.
But what makes Chase special? How did he finish with 84 receptions for 1,780 yards and 20 touchdowns in college football's toughest conference at just 19-years-old?
It began in the summer of 2019 after Chase's freshman season. He started something special with with teammates Justin Jefferson and Terrace Marshall.
"Those three guys got together in the time they could work just individually and got out the jugs gun and they upped the velocity on the footballs and they took 10,000 passes over the course of the summer," LSU radio voice Chris Blair told Dan Hoard during a recent appearance on the Bengals Booth Podcast. "It was an attempt to make sure that if the ball was within grasp, they had a good chance of hauling it in. When you look at how that translated, No. 1 to Joe Burrow's accuracy, No. 2 to the number of catches and touchdowns and yards that Ja'Marr Chase had along with Justin Jefferson and Terrace Marshall—it kinda set the bar now for LSU receivers."
Blair believes Burrow and Chase are cut from the same cloth—that both guys understand what it takes to be the best.
"When you talk about looking at him coming out of high school one of the top prospects in the state of Louisiana a couple of years ago, rated a four star prospect. His work ethic took him from being a four star, which again is very, very good—to being the top of the class and a Biletnikoff winner," Blair said. "It's a lot in the same conversation you and I had about Joe Burrow. His approach to the game and the preparation for the game has been pro-like really since 2018. And certainly he ramped that up in 2019. He kinda was the architect of the summer of 10,000 passes ... Ten years from now when they're talking about the summer of 10,000 passes everybody can thank Ja'Marr Chase. He's kinda the father of that."
The summer of 10,000 passes is a wild story, but it shows how dedicated Chase is to his craft. If the next decade of the Bengals' is built around Burrow—an elite worker and leader—and Chase, who clearly has the desire to be great, then the future should be bright at Paul Brown Stadium.
Listen to Hoard's entire conversation with Blair below. For the latest free agency news and NFL Draft coverage, bookmark AllBengals and check out some of our other articles below.
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