CINCINNATI — The Bengals have 28 days to finalize their big board for the 2021 NFL Draft.
Some are expecting them to take Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell. Others believe LSU wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase is the way to go.
The decision won't be easy. Protecting star quarterback Joe Burrow has to be their top priority. It's a deep offensive line class and they can address their need for a lineman later in the draft. Even Burrow is reportedly pushing for a reunion with his former LSU teammate.
The Bengals have asked their star quarterback about Chase, but they can also lean on a familiar face to give them insight about the top wide receiver prospect in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Former Bengals defensive backs coach Kevin Coyle is currently a senior defensive analyst for LSU. He was with the Bengals for 13 seasons (2001-11, 2016-17).
Coyle saw what Chad Johnson and A.J. Green did for the Bengals at their best. His cornerbacks had to face them every day in practice. He believes Chase can be that type of player in the NFL.
"He has a tenacious, competitive nature about him. He's got great hands. Not good hands. Great hands," Coyle told Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com. "He will just fight for the football. About as good as anybody I've seen. He's special that way. The thing about him is he's strong for a guy his size and he's got good size, but he's not an overly big receiver. But in terms of strength, body position, he's got an unusual combination of skills."
Chase isn't a finesse receiver. His 23 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press prove that. He uses that power on the field.
"The thing I think a lot of people will be shocked at is just how strong this guy is," Coyle said. "He'll block. He'll knock the crap out of a safety. He'll lock up a corner. He's not afraid to get his nose dirty. You could put him at running back to get the ball in his hands. Pound for pound he's one of the strongest players on the team. Clearly he's one of the top players coming out in the draft … There's nothing he can't do."
Joe Burrow found Chase early and often in 2019. The duo led LSU to a 15-0 record and a national championship. Chase, who was just 19-years-old at the time, finished with 84 receptions for 1,780 yards and 20 touchdowns. He opted out of the 2020 season to prepare for the NFL Draft. He's expected to be a top six pick.
"Last season was incredible. He was literally unstoppable," Coyle said. "And it was every game no matter what teams tried to do. He just found a way to make plays."
Read Hobson's entire conversation with Coyle here.
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