Despite having not played at the college ranks in 2020, Ja’Marr Chase remained a highly coveted prospect on NFL radars.
Now, with the NFL Draft approaching, Chase has stepped back onto the scene, after months out of the spotlight. At LSU's pro day, Chase showed out with flying colors. He ran a 4.38 40-yard dash, and posted a 41-inch vertical jump.
Although he didn’t play a snap in 2020, Chase has remained in the discussion as a potential top-10 pick in the upcoming draft.
And, with the draft less than a month away, his dreams of joining former teammate Justin Jefferson in the NFL are inching closer to reality.
“I can’t wait to get into the NFL,” Chase said. “This is really a dream come true for me.”
The Detroit Lions have been linked to Chase, along with several other wide receivers projected to go early in the draft. With the losses of Marvin Jones Jr. and Kenny Golladay, the Lions need a playmaker of Chase’s capability to bolster their offense.
And, according to one scout, Chase would be an excellent fit for the Lions, should he still be available at No. 7 overall. He’s more physical than Alabama’s De’Vonta Smith, and according to NFL analyst Jim Mora, would fit better in the NFC North.
“He’s a better fit,” Mora told SI All Lions. “He’s a more physical guy, (and) he’s just as athletic.”
Meeting with the media after his pro day, Chase said that he has had conversations with the Cincinnati Bengals, who have the fifth pick in the upcoming draft. This is a popular landing spot for Chase, as the Bengals currently employ a former teammate of Chase’s in quarterback Joe Burrow.
“Me and Joe, I wouldn’t mind going back with Joe,” Chase said. “If we go back together, we wouldn’t try nothing but trying to get our chemistry back and have some more fun.”
The consensus landing area for Chase among NFL analysts is between the fifth and seventh picks, whether it be Cincinnati, Philadelphia or Detroit.
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As someone who has gone a year without in-game reps, Chase has spent a large part of this offseason staying in playing shape.
He said he’s done track workouts to stay fast, along with other drills to keep his hands sharp.
“Lately, I have been just catching balls, trying to get back into my groove,” Chase said. “Been working on a lot of receiver work right now. As of right now, I think I’m gonna go full out on just football. But, I was working on a lot of track at first.”
Outside of his blazing 40-yard dash time, Chase said he was most proud of his vertical jump. After posting a mark of 39 at the EXOS workout facility, Chase was able to jump 41 inches on his big day.
“I wanted to come out here and jump a 41,” Chase said.
With his pro day success, Chase likely cemented himself in the top-10 discussion.
If he's available at No. 7, it will be difficult for Lions GM Brad Holmes to pass on the talented wide receiver.
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