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Ja'Marr Chase Drafted by Bengals: Cincinnati's Updated Depth Chart After Round 1

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistApril 30, 2021

FILE - In this Dec. 7, 2019, file photo, LSU wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase (1) celebrates his touchdown against Georgia during the first half of the Southeastern Conference championship NCAA college football game, in Atlanta. Ja'Marr Chase  was one of three players from LSU’s high-powered offense to earn unanimous first-team all-SEC honors when The Associated Press All-Southeastern Conference football team was announced Monday, Dec. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
John Bazemore/Associated Press

Ja'Marr Chase's big-play skills will be seen in the colors of the Cincinnati Bengals after they selected him with the fifth overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft. 

Chase opted out of the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic and to prepare for the draft. 

Despite not having any game tape from the previous year, Chase's stock in this year's class never wavered. The Louisiana native was regarded as no worse than the No. 2 wideout along with Alabama star and 2020 Heisman winner DeVonta Smith. 

Chase wound up going before Smith, but now the work begins for the 21-year-old. Here's what the Bengals' depth chart looks like with the 2019 All-American on the roster:

QB: Joe Burrow, Brandon Allen

RB: Joe Mixon, Samaje Perine

WR1: Tyler Boyd

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WR2: Tee Higgins

WR3: Ja'Marr Chase*, Auden Tate, Alex Erickson

TE: Drew Sample, CJ Uzomah

LT: Jonah Williams, Hakeem Adeniji

LG: Michael Jordan, Keaton Sutherland

C: Trey Hopkins, Billy Price

RG: Quinton Spain, Xavier Su'a-Filo, Keaton Sutherland

RT: Riley Reiff, Fred Johnson

Depth chart info provided by Ourlads and Over the Cap.

ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. ranked Chase as the fourth-best player in the 2021 class.

The 2019 Biletnikoff Award winner, Chase was one of many standout offensive players on LSU's national championship team two years ago. He led all FBS receivers with 1,780 yards and set an SEC record with 20 touchdown catches in 14 games.

Chase was the best receiver on a team that also featured Minnesota Vikings' 2020 first-round draft pick Justin Jefferson. 

Jefferson had 1,540 yards and 18 touchdowns on 111 receptions in his final season at LSU. He was arguably the best rookie in the NFL last year with 1,400 yards and seven touchdowns on 88 receptions. 

If Chase can make the same kind of impact as a rookie that Jefferson did, the Bengals will be thrilled to have a No. 1 wideout on their roster for many years to come. 

Even though offensive line seemed like a top priority for the Bengals going into the 2021 season, being able to get Joe Burrow a No. 1 wide receiver is difficult to pass up. 

Cincinnati found a very good receiver in the second round last year with the selection of Tee Higgins. Putting Chase on the other side of the field, with Tyler Boyd in the slot, gives the Bengals a potentially elite trio of wideouts to build around. 

The biggest question going forward will be how Burrow performs coming off a torn ACL and MCL. He looked terrific in 2020 with 2,688 yards, 13 touchdowns, five interceptions and a 65.3 completion percentage for a team that was rebuilding its offense. 

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