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Joe Burrow wants Ja’Marr Chase: Can he sway Cincinnati?

The Bengals need to add a generational player in the 2021 draft, the question is, which one?

2021 is the perfect year to be drafting 5th if you need a Hall-of-Famer. While the rest of the NFL flips up couch cushions looking for draft capital to get a top-five quarterback, the Bengals have the chance to draft one of the two highest-graded players on their board. An unheard-of circumstance for a team drafting 5th. The choice for the Bengals will come down to two players – LSU WR Ja’Marr Chase and Oregon LT Penei Sewell.

If the 4th overall pick isn’t a quarterback this franchise-defining decision will be made for the Bengals. If the Falcons take Sewell, the Bengals take Chase and vice versa. However, if both players are available, the Bengals will have to show their hand. Take the guy the world says you need to take? Or take the guy Joe Burrow wants?

The Consensus Pick: Penei Sewell

For the final 6 weeks of the 2020 regular season most Bengals fans (including myself) were praying to secure the 2nd overall pick, why? The freak left tackle out of Oregon, the next Anthony Munoz! That’s why!

Sewell is a top-notch prospect with tremendous upside at a position of great need for Cincinnati. It would be pretty risky to watch Sewell maul people down in Miami while Joey B is still running for his life on a compromised knee. Drafting Sewell would guarantee a middle of the pack offensive line for the next 5-10 years with some real upside. Elite tackle play is how this organization has won in the past (Willie Anderson, Andrew Whitworth, and Anthony Munoz). We’ve also heard reports that Cincinnati is ‘locked in’ on Penei Sewell.

Sewell is the safe choice. No one would dare criticize Cincinnati if they made this pick

Burrow’s Pick: Ja’Marr Chase

The thing about Joe Burrow? He despises playing it safe.

His choice of college is an example of that; Burrow had safer options available. Cincinnati and North Carolina would’ve guaranteed Burrow an NFL gig (probably mid-rounds) and he would’ve had success. But Joe chose LSU, why? He wanted to win a National Championship, plain and simple.

Burrow didn’t make the conservative choice – which brings us to Chase.

The rumor mill around Burrow has indicated Chase is Burrow’s dream pick since before the season ended. There was nothing concrete behind those rumors until the recent Sports Illustrated confirmation of them. This isn’t a thought Burrow is saying just to friends, family, and neighbors. Burrow and those close to him are making it very clear that they prefer Ja’Marr Chase.

I don’t have the list of Burrow’s best friends, but it’s a safe guess to say that Chase exists within his top 10. Their connection was arguably the greatest in college football history, these guys operated on the same wavelength. I’ve never seen a WR so in-sync with a QB in my life.

Burrow has always cherished the QB-WR relationship. In high school he helped develop Ryan and Adam Luehrman into Division-1 talents, while elevating a standard high school WR unit into the best in Ohio. Wideouts at LSU would praise the QB’s ability to develop this critical relationship, mentioning Burrow’s ability to teach and lead.

Chase is the #1 WR prospect, and had he played in 2020? It wouldn’t be that close. He has trunks for legs, blazing speed. He’s incredible in start and stop situations, he is unstoppable on contested catches. He was better than Justin Jefferson in 2019, and Jefferson was the best rookie WR last season.

Plus, he gives Burrow the answer to his biggest issue in 2020 – the deep ball. Burrow and Chase were the best deep ball connection in NCAA history – on 20+ yard throws Ja’Marr Chase had 20rec 699yds and 12TD’s.

The Manning Model

The football Gods have done their part. A player and franchise don’t fit any better than Burrow and the Bengals. The Ohio-raised quarterback has the toughness required to deal with any weather the AFC North provides. His leadership and moxy is a breath of fresh air in Cincinnati. His ability to elevate the players around him can masks holes in the organization and the roster, he can make bad decisions look average, and average decisions look great.

This was the exact player the Colts got when they drafted Peyton Manning out of Tennessee. Wise beyond his years, incredibly skilled, and a master of the playbook. Before Manning, the Colts had been a laughing stock, with no success since moving the team from Baltimore. After Manning they’ve become one of the model organizations in the NFL.

The Colts noticed the greatness in their first overall pick and made Manning not just the leader of the offense, but the genuine leader of the organization. Manning was referred to as a ‘de facto’ GM at times in Indianapolis. He set the tone, he decided who stayed and who went.

The Manning and Burrow family are close. It’s rational to believe that Peyton and Archie have shared their philosophies on NFL success with Burrow. Maybe Manning said something like, “Ya know, my best times in the NFL was when Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne were my two wideouts, OMAHA”

Burrow’s understanding of the game is highly underrated; I’m of the belief he is the best football mind within Paul Brown Stadium (Front Office and Coaches included). Burrow knows the value of elite WR play, he knows the path to a Super Bowl will always go through Mahomes.

Burrow wants Chase and he is pretty sure about, and in Indianapolis if Peyton Manning was sure; that’s what the Colts did.

Does Burrow hold the Power?

By all accounts the Bengals are following the lead of their midwestern rival by handing the keys to Burrow. But, the Brown family is the most power-hungry ownership group in North American sports. Nobody that’s walked through Paul Brown Stadium has had more power than Mike Brown since 1991. Not Carson Palmer, or Andy Dalton, or A.J. Green, or Marvin Lewis

But if April 29th comes around and Ja’Marr Chase is picked with Penei Sewell still available – we will know who has the power in Cincinnati.

Joseph Lee Burrow, and I think I’m okay with that.

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