CINCINNATI — The debate between Penei Sewell and Ja'Marr Chase is over, but did the Bengals make the right decision?
That's a question that we won't get the answer to for a few years, but one thing is certain: Cincinnati added a great football player with the fifth pick.
Don't take our word for it, especially when Bengals legend and radio analyst Dave Lapham is singing the praises of the 21-year-old.
"Ja'Marr Chase is a very unusual athlete. His explosiveness is off the charts," Lapham said in a recent video breakdown. "This guy has functional football ability based on his physical unique talents and his explosiveness and everything that goes with it."
He broad jumped over 11 feet. Vertical jumped over 41 inches. That is explosiveness. And sometimes it doesn't translate to the football field, but with Ja'Marr Chase, it translates on the football field with his big play after big play."
Chase was dominant for the Tigers in 2019, finishing with 84 receptions for 1,780 yards and 20 touchdowns. His connection with Joe Burrow was special. It's something the Bengals will try to recreate in the NFL.
"He's a great route runner. He's strong. He throws defensive backs around," Lapham said. "When he's running routes there's two ways you can form separation or create separation in your route running: blow by people, which he does. Also, a subtle nudge, a subtle push. A little arm bar or whatever the case may be at the top of the route to get separation. This guy has big play written all over him. How will it effect the offense? Make Joe Burrow better based on what they did together in 2019. It'll help Joe Mixon as well because there will be less people in the box."
Lapham is a former offensive lineman, but he understands why the Bengals took Chase. He's a great athlete and an elite football player. His athleticism and explosiveness shows up on tape.
"He's got very consistent hands, runs very consistent routes. They've got themselves a very special player here," Lapham said. "Joe Burrow knows all about it and the rest of the Cincinnati Bengal teammates and fan base here in Cincinnati are going to find out very quickly that Ja'Marr Chase is the real deal."
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