The Cincinnati Bengals are poised to select an impact player at No. 5 who should immediately upgrade their offense. Whether it is offensive tackle Penei Sewell or receiver Ja'Marr Chase is the most significant topic of discussion in Cincy leading up to Thursday's draft in Cleveland.
Both players are dynamic and could be game-changing pieces for the Bengals.
Much of the discussion surrounding Chase being the selection revolves around the wideout's connection with Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow. The two were electric at LSU. Chase compiled 84 receptions for 1,780 yards and 20 TDs from Burrow in 2019 before opting out of 2020.
Speaking Monday, Bengals head coach Zac Taylor noted that the connection between Burrow and Chase will be one element considered in Cincinnati's decision but won't be the determining factor.
"It's one of the things that you weigh in. Certainly, we take in a lot of factors," Taylor said, via the team's official website. "You know, their production on the field, their character, their football IQ. Just what they bring to our locker room and what they bring to our team as a whole. Relationship with the quarterback certainly doesn't hurt. That's just one of the many things we bring in.
"It's not a negative, that's for sure. You get a chance to see at LSU in particular, they've had a lot of players come out the last two years. Some of them didn't play this year, some of them did. You get a chance to see an offense that is very similar to a lot of pro systems so there's not a lot of guesswork in terms of how they're going to translate."
The drumbeat for Chase being the pick -- assuming he's still on the board when the Bengals pick at No. 5 -- has grown louder in recent weeks. GM Duke Tobin fanned those flames earlier this month when he suggested there could be starting offensive linemen available later in the draft.
From a practical perspective, the Bengals are in an enviable spot in which they should select a Day 1 starter no matter who falls to them, whether that be Chase, Sewell or even tight end Kyle Pitts.
"We feel like we're going to get a premier player that can really come in and help us immediately," Taylor said.
For a coach who has compiled six wins in two seasons, getting a player who will upgrade the offense either as a protector or dynamic weapon will aid Taylor's goal of finally digging the Bengals out of the AFC North cellar.