Bengals will regret selecting Ja'Marr Chase over Penei Sewell in NFL Draft

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May 3rd, 2021

The first round of the 2021 NFL Draft was full of surprises. One of the biggest questions leading up to Thursday night was weather Cincinnati would select Ja’Marr Chase or Penei Sewell.

Cincinnati ultimately chose Chase with the fifth overall pick, and while the wide receiver was the best player on the board, was he the best pick for the Bengals?

Burrow needs protection

2020 first overall pick Joe Burrow showed signs of being a franchise quarterback for the Bengals last season. However, in Week 11 in Washington, Burrow went down with a season-ending knee injury while attempting a deep pass.

Burrow was sacked 32 times in only 9.5 games in 2020. That is an astounding 3.4 times per game. Only Carson Wentz and Alex Smith were sacked more times per game than Burrow in 2020. He was also top 10 in sack percentage from total pass attempts at 7.3%.

Joe Burrow was pressured on 23% of his drop backs. Only Justin Herbert and Wentz were pressured more times per game than Burrow in 2020, and only Wentz and Nick Mullens were hit more times per game than Burrow last season.  

The Burrow/Chase connection

Burrow and Chase were teammates at LSU just two season ago. In that championship season, Chase finished with 84 catches for 1,780 yards and 20 touchdowns in 14 games. In the National Championship Game against Clemson, Chase reeled in nine catches for 221 yards and two touchdowns.

Chase and Burrow have a strong connection, and Chase was the best available player on the board at the fifth pick on Thursday night, so it seems like an obvious fit for the Bengals' first round selection. Burrow was clearly satisfied with the selection given his tweet immediately following the pick.

The odds are not ever in the Bengals favor

The Bengals currently have +10000 odds to win the Super Bowl in the 2021 season, which leaves them tied with the New York Jets for the third worst mark. Only the Detroit Lions and Houston Texans have worst odds to win it all.

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Even the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars have received more love from oddsmakers after their draft performance this past weekend. Ultimately, the Bengals needed to protect their biggest asset in Joe Burrow and waiting for later round picks to do so may not have been the best option.

Chase is an excellent player and has a great chemistry with Burrow, but the Bengals already had weapons for the young superstar. Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins are young wide receivers with a ton of upside, and the combination of Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine in the backfield can help balance the offense.

While Chase is likely going to be a great player, the Bengals would have been better taking Sewell as a starting tackle for years to come to protect their franchise quarterback. They could have still taken a wide receiver like Rondale Moore, D’Wayne Eskridge, or fellow LSU receiver Terrace Marshall Jr. in the second round.