CINCINNATI — Bengals rookie wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase had a record-breaking first season in the NFL.
The 21-year-old finished with 81 receptions for 1,455 yards and 13 touchdowns. He had the most receiving yards by a rookie in the Super Bowl era and will likely win the Offensive Rookie of the Year award.
Despite his record breaking first season, Chase wasn't the first or even the second-highest rated rookie in ESPN's final rankings.
The Bengals' star was fifth behind Micah Parsons, Mac Jones, Rashawn Slater and Creed Humphrey.
"Chase was a problem for defenses early in the season (101 yards in Week 1), in the middle of the season (201 yards in Week 7) and late in the season (266 yards in Week 17)," Jeff Legwold wrote. "Flowers and well-wishes to the AFC North defensive backs for, well, years to come. As he and quarterback Joe Burrow continue to build on what they've already done, more days like the rookie-record 266-yard effort against the Chiefs in the second-to-last game of the regular season are possible. His 1,455 receiving yards were the most for a rookie in the Super Bowl era, and before you point to the extended regular season, he actually broke the record in Week 17."
Chase should certainly be ranked higher than fifth. He completely transformed the Bengals' offense this season. Joe Burrow deserves credit for that as well, but not many, if any rookies have had the impact that Chase has had on the Bengals.
Cincinnati won just four games last season. Now they're just two victories away from the Super Bowl.
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