WR Ja'marr Chase Sure Does Looks Like The Real Deal, Even Though I Doubted Him
The Bengals rookie Wide Receiver Ja'marr Chase was drafted with the 5th-overall pick in last years NFL draft.
At that time, I told many people that I thought he was over-drafted and over-rated.
One has to wonder, after watching his rookie NFL season, how I could have not seen his potential at the next level. Well, ya can't win them all.
When I watched his 2019 game film from his sophomore year at LSU, he seemed to be a product of his quarterback at the time - Joe Burrow, and the beneficiary of playing WR opposite of Justin Jefferson.
He took a Covid exemption and sat-out his junior year in 2020, so their wasnt a lot of film to look at.
In his freshman year he had 23 catches for 313-yards and three touchdowns.
In his sophomore season he exploded for 84 receptions for 1780-yards and 20 touchdowns.
He led the nation in receiving yards and touchdowns and finished 17th in receptions.
That's one hell of a season he put together. You have to wonder how I could have not seen the potential at the next level.
What I saw in college was a kid who seemed to get behind coverages often and a quarterback who was destined as the #1 overall pick the following year, and that QB's ability to always seem to find Chase when he was open deep downfield.
He also racked-up big numbers against some bad competition.
Vs (4-8) Ole Miss - 227-yards and 3 TD's
Vs (2-10) Arkansas - 144-yards and 2 TD's
Vs (8-5) Texas - 147-yards
Vs (3-9) Vanderbilt - 229-yards and 4 TD's
That's 747-yards and 9 TD's in those for games. That's 42% of his total yardage for that season and just about half of his touchdowns.
He did put-up big numbers Vs (14-1) Clemson in the Championship Game, when he had 9-catches for 221-yards and 3 touchdowns in a losing effort.
I saw a kid who seemed to generate most of stats from his ability to get open versus college defensive backs and never really had to make contested catches. Most of his catches seemed pedestrian to me, and that anyone would have caught the balls that Burrow was delivering to him.
So far, it appears I couldn't have been more wrong.
Chase took the NFL by storm in his 2021 rookie season.
He had 81-receptions for 1,455-yards and 13 touchdowns.
He ranked 4th in receiving yards, 2nd in yards per reception, 3rd in touchdowns and 2nd in yards per target. He also finished 3rd with yards after catch.
As of this post, the Bengals will play their 3rd playoff game vs the Chiefs this weekend, and Chase has continued his tremendous first season into the playoffs.
In those first two playoff games he has 14 catches on 18 targets for 225-yards.
He hasn't got to the endzone yet, but did add 25 rushing yards on four carries.
In week-17, the Bengals beat the Chiefs 34-32 in Cincinnati. In that game, Chase had 11 catches for 266-yards and 3 touchdowns, so you can expect him to keep adding to his impressive rookie season totals.
My top WR coming out of last years draft was DeVonta Smith, who the Dolphins selected with the 10th overall pick.
Smith had a decent season in Miami, with all things considered.
He had 916 receiving yards and 5 TD's. He averaged 14,3-yards per reception.
Rookie Tua Tagovailoa started 13 games for the Dolphins, so expecting much more than they got from from a rookie WR and QB combination is asking a lot.
I will finish this post with the fact that I had QB Josh Allen pegged as the best QB coming out of the 2019 quarterback draft class. That does seem to be the case.
Daniel Jones was the first QB drafted in 2019, at #6 overall. Allen was drafted at #7.
Other QB's coming-out of that draft were Kyler Murray (#1 overall), Dwayne Haskins (#15 overall) and Drew Lock (#42 overall).
So, ya win some, ya lose some. It appears that my WR scouting could use some polish. Perhaps I can sit-in with the Patriots draft guru's as they try to figure-out which WR's will excel after making the to thjumpe NFL.