The top-five pick was ranked No. 24.
Burrow and Bates are known commodities in the NFL, which is the only thing you can’t say about rookie Ja’Marr Chase. Nevertheless, Chase was hailed as a top 25 under 25 player by Complex, ranking No. 24, with Bates and Burrow coming in at 15 and 14, respectively.
Despite not having played an NFL snap, Chase is expected to come into the Queen City and be a top target for Burrow. Burrow and Chase already have that connection typically formed by quarterbacks and star rookie receivers in their first year together. Having played at LSU together, Chase caught 20 touchdowns during Burrow’s Heisman Trophy-winning season.
Chase opted out of his final season at LSU following Burrow being selected as the No. 1 overall pick in last year’s draft. The receiver was still the second non-quarterback taken in the 2021 NFL Draft. Kyle Pitts, drafted by the Atlanta Falcons, was the only non-QB taken before Chase.
That said, part of what Complex’s Ian Wharton wrote on Chase centered around what the team’s offense can become with him now involved.
“He’ll immediately boost the Bengals’ passing game. He can win on any route, and his chemistry with Burrow should pay off quickly. Watch for this offense to thrive with Chase becoming a star in quick order,” Wharton wrote.
Chase totaled 1,780 yards during his sophomore season. That type of dominance so young is impressive and will hopefully translate to the sport’s highest level. He also did both those yards and touchdowns on just 84 receptions.
With Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins also involved in the receiver room, it’ll be interesting to see how often Chase is targeted as a rookie. Nonetheless, the talent is there and will hopefully shine early in the year.