The last few days before the draft are filled with plenty of hot takes fired in all directions.
Some of it is team’s purposefully putting out a smokescreen for their actual plans.
Some of it is to get as many clicks as possible.
Some of it is just so outlandish that it is hard to even fathom it was actually put out there.
One of those stories comes from Pro Football Network insider Tony Pauline, who put out an interesting rumor he heard as to why the Bengals may actually draft wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase over offensive tackle Penei Sewell.
Could the Cincinnati Bengals really pass up offensive tackle Penei Sewell in favor of receiver Ja’Marr Chase?
The answer is yes, but a source close to the team tells me it has little to do with the Burrow to Chase connection at LSU in 2019. “You have to understand the mentality of the Bengals’ front office,” my source told me. “They got a damn good receiver in Tee Higgins last year, and they must protect Burrow. But the way they see it is the team lost A.J. Green, and after what turned into a contentious relationship, the priority of many in the front office is to replace Green with another receiver and stick it to him.”
This comes off as one of the more ridiculous takes as to why Cincinnati would draft Chase, but let us humor it as a reality for a second.
An NFL franchise is ready to let how they feel about a player who defined a decade of football for the team’s exit after he was very underwhelming (whether that was because of injury or losing a step), impact a franchise changing decision in the first round.
Is it possible that some coaches or front office members maybe feel replacing Green is a huge priority?
However it is extremely unlikely that the idea of sticking it to Green has become the tiebreaking or decision deciding factor.
There are so many more rational reasons to draft Chase fifth overall. He’s an absolute stud of a receiver who still has plenty to room to grow as his sub 4.40 second 40-yard dash time showed. He and Joe Burrow already have an established connection in place from the 2019 season they spent lighting up the SEC on the way to winning the National Championship and this draft is extraordinarily deep at offensive line, which makes it much more likely the Bengals will still be able to draft a starting lineman on Day 2.
It is very easy to chalk this up to the national media trying to find a new angle to criticize Cincinnati. I’m sure Pauline heard this from someone he considers a close source to the team, but it may be time to find a new one.