Updated: May 9, 2021
by LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
Even though Ja'Marr Chase showed up wearing a beyond stunning white suit and loud orange shoes (which seemed to announce our hopes), Mel Kiper, Tiger Legend & now analyst Booger McFarland, Mike Greenberg and all the rest of ESPN / NFL Network's crew were in agreement: The Bengals wouldn't be taking a wide receiver, they'd be protecting their quarterback by grabbing tackle Penei Sewell.
But like much of proceedings throughout Round 1, so many of their predictions, mock drafts, all of it was mercilessly wrong....
Ja'Marr Chase is now a Bengal, reuniting with his Heisman-winning QB Joe Burrow for what should be a long, high octane future together, picking up right where they left off (Chase rocking the Biletnikoff Award & Burrow as a Heisman-winning #1 overall pick).
These ESPN & NFL analysts had to scrape their jaws from the floor using Chris Berman's old spatula, shaking their heads at Cincinnati's "gamble"; Still, I shake my head at their obvious disdain for a franchise finally proving just how hungry they are to win.
Selecting Ja'Marr Chase is no gamble.
Orchestrated by Joe himself, this move couldn't be denied by the whims of Kiper and his legion of self-described "common sense" NFL Draft "scholars"....
Thank God the Bengals' Mike Brown ignored the noise and listened to his quarterback, rather than the din of fear and stupidity coming from those challenging their Chase selection.
For starters, these obsessives are often wrong on their assessments, always giving LSU a cold shoulder; second, they've all seemed to forget Burrow and Chase's cosmic telepathy, not only during 2019's title-winning escapade, but also in the last few games of 2018.
Over the course of LSU's preamble season, the freshman out of Rummel High battled a nagging injury from high school. During LSU's final stretch when Chase began to receive more targets, reps & trust from Ensminger's offensive staff, the Tigers scored 40+ points in 3 of their last 4 games.
Oh...and I forgot to mention, LSU then proceeded to rattle off 16 wins in a row...winning every game in which Chase started.
The moment Ja'Marr returned to full health, his mere presence expanded the offensive pallete, handed his quarterback and receivers more time & space (due to his size clearing out the strongest DB) while also taking away one safety...then, he made ridiculous plays, torching teams after the catch with filthy, twisting, barrelhouse runs...Vanderbilt, Ole Miss, Florida, Clemson, Alabama...
Sure, Chase only grabbed 10 receptions on 3rd down, however most of his plays were explosive, recording a whopping 60 1st Down conversions, averaging 21.2 yards per catch, 58 gains of 15+ yards & torching the best corners in the game, most becoming high Draft picks in the NFL (Trayvon Diggs & A.J Terrell to name a few).
Most exciting for the Bengals' offense?
Thanks to WR Tyler Boyd's ascendancy, Tee Higgins' potential & the free agency capture of 2019 Tiger Thaddeus Moss, the pick for Ja'Marr Chase elevates Brian Callahan's offense to a juggernaut level.
Many will bicker and moan over Joe's injury and understandably so, no one wants to see Joe down on the ground ever again....but I feel we haven't even seen the best of 1st Round pick Jonah Williams yet; also, there's still mounds of quality offensive line talent available in the upcoming rounds for GM Mike Brown to grab, nor will the media remember what a great asset Thad Moss can be, possessing furious blocking skills to go with the Moss Family hands.
That's why a weapon on the same wavelength as Joe, another alpha king, was such a priority...but for some, he was little more than a roll of the dice.
Ja'Marr Chase improves the team immediately, that's not up for debate, however what seems to be?
Whether picking the LSU superstar was the right choice.
They'll see come fall...
I don't know how you can look at what Joe Burrow accomplished as a rookie, fronted by an offensive line who's protection bordered on mutinous, dependant on a washed up A.J Green or a below par Tee Higgins and think Ja'Marr doesn't have a chance at snapping Justin Jefferson's rookie record.
There was a palpable connection between Joe and Ja'Marr that is fascinating......it's so Riggs & Murtaugh.......one time on Instagram, Chase even called Joe "a gangsta".
When these two get together, the atmosphere changes, becoming one of complete ambition and swaggering enterprise, understanding the totality of their shared powers.
Joe was already commanding the Bengals offense & franchise, but if there remained any question of who's in charge, those doubts were laid to rest when Chase was picked by Mike Brown.
Much like Ed Orgeron's coaching hires or vision for 2021 LSU, Burrow himself is doing whatever he can to engrave his future in the image of 2019's omnipotent championship saga....
In doing so, Cincy knew a safe pick for Sewell wasn't going to beat Pittsburgh's high flying offense (which now has Alabama's Najee Harris at running back) or take down Cleveland's Tiger WR tandem Jarvis & OBJ, let alone compete with Baltimore's Lamar Jackson....
...Cincy needed a playmaker, a kingmaker...a talisman who Joe can rely on at any point in the game....a guy Joe completely trusts when facing a 10 point deficit to Clemson...a superstar who set the tone early against Alabama...a perfect receiver who's unselfish One Team One Heartbeat ethos grabbed so much on field attention, that his commitment on every snap helped fellow receivers Justin Jefferson, Terrace Marshall Jr and Racey McMath combine for 34 touchdowns.
With their burgeoning offense from last year always on the precipice of blowing up, Chase's arrival will light the match to the Bengals' fuse.
LSU fans wanted this pick as badly as anyone, still the real winners are all of us football fans......that is unless you're partial to the Steelers, Browns or Ravens....
Because if you are, you're screwed.
By LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
Copyright 2021 Lonn Phillips Sullivan Writings Inc
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