New York Jets 2021 opponent report: Cincinnati Bengals

joe burrow, bengals

Star-crossed franchises do battle on Halloween, as the New York Jets welcome Joe Burrow and the Bengals to East Rutherford.

The Opponent: Cincinnati Bengals
The Date: Week 7 (Sunday, October 31), 1 p.m. ET, CBS (@ NYJ)
The Series: Jets lead 17-10 (last meeting: 2019, 22-6 CIN)

The New York Jets and Cincinnati Bengals are living up to their respective reputations as two of the NFL’s scariest franchises in the modern standings. Entering the 2021 season, the teams are the owners of the longest playoff droughts in football. New York has a sizable margin at ten years, while the Bengals are at five seasons alongside the Cardinals and Broncos. Cincinnati is also nursing the longest active streaks between conference title game appearances (32 years) and playoff victories (30).

It’s thus only appropriate that these doomed squads go head-to-head on Halloween.

If anything, these franchises whose respective timelines have been dominated with tricks appear to have a pair of treats working with them under center. Cincinnati is set to welcome back Joe Burrow, the top pick of the virtual draft in 2020, while the Jets are set to counter with Zach Wilson, the second overall pick from the most recent selections.

The Skinny On the Bengals

The Bengals’ rebuild has entered the stage where they’re eradicating the remnants of the closest thing Queen City has had to professional football glory days since a rare Super Bowl appearance a majority of their fanbase has only seen on YouTube.

Andy Dalton, Andrew Whitworth, Rey Maulaga, and Domata Peko had already vanished. More Cincinnati jerseys became outdated this offseason, as the team bid farewell to Geno Atkins, A.J. Green, Gio Bernard, and Carlos Dunlap. Only tight C.J. Uzomah is left over from the Bengals’ last playoff trip, 2016’s meltdown at Paul Brown (Stadium).

The operation is being overseen by head coach Zac Taylor, who is entering the all-important third year at the helm. Cincinnati is a historically patient franchise: Taylor is only the 10th man to wear the headset for the franchise in their five-plus decades and his predecessor lasted 16 years in the spot without a single playoff victory.

Cincinnati’s fortunes were expected to be reversed by the arrival of Burrow. The standings left much to be desired…the Bengals won twice in Burrow’s ten starts…but reached heights unscaled by not only Cincinnati quarterbacks but legends of the entire league. Burrow became the first NFL freshman to throw for 300 yards in three consecutive games as well as the first to tally 400 passing yards, three passing scores, and a rushing six-pointer in a single contest.

This being the Bengals, however, the good times weren’t made to last. Burrow suffered a devastating injury during a November loss in Washington and was forced into an extensive rehab. Time will tell if Burrow returns to his dominant form that earned him the Heisman and a national title at LSU. But he found ways to turn his rehab process into a building block for his potentially game-changing career. The procedure, he believes, afforded him a chance to fix some of the flaws that perhaps hid beneath the glitz and glamour of his football career to date.

“With my knee, it felt the same. But I tweak my throwing motion every offseason and tweak my base. It was actually kind of beneficial for me, because I really started from the beginning and was able to refine some things that needed refining,” Burrow told Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer about his offseason. “I’d like to be more explosive. And I think I was really good in quick-game situations. On fourth down, we were really good. Empty, we were really good. But we need to be more explosive with play-action passes. All of our downfield passing needs to improve.”

In addition to losing Burrow, the Bengals also lost top rusher Joe Mixon to a foot injury. The next generation of Cincinnati weaponry has presented itself through Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins, who united for 1,749 yards and 10 scores last season.

What’s New In Cincinnati? 

In addition to the high-profile arrival of receiver Ja’Marr Chase (chosen fifth in April), the Bengals had to spend their offseason accounting for the loss of several defensive starters, including pressure artist and Jet-to-be Carl Lawson…who, alas, will not partake in the reunion with Cincinnati due to injury.

Cincinnati signed Trey Hendrickson after a breakthrough season in New Orleans in the hopes of replacing Lawson’s pressure production. A revamped secondary welcomes depth options Ricardo Allen, Eli Apple, Chidobe Awuzie, and Mike Hilton, while Trae Waynes is a de facto newcomer after a pectoral injury cost him the entire 2020 season.

The Bengals’ revamped top defense looked good in the “take-it-with-a-grain-of-salt” summer sessions, allowing no points in two contests. Hendrickson was enthused by what he learned from defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo, who prides versatility in his front seven.

“It’s looking very unique of anything I’ve ever played before,” Hendrickson said of the defense to Ben Baby of ESPN after his first practices with the team in June. “I think it’s playing to both the defense and what I can bring to the table.”

How to Beat Them

-Make Them Pray for Penei

One of the most shocking twists of the draft was the Bengals’ curious decision to leave accomplished Oregon blocker Penei Sewell on the board in favor of Chase, one of Burrow’s favorite targets during the Tigers’ national championship run.

There’s no doubt that Chase has the potential to be an elite, big-play talent and that his victorious chemistry with Burrow could come up big as the team tries to drag back to mere football relevancy. But the Bengals learned the hard way that they need to find further protection for Burrow. Wouldn’t it have made more sense to pounce (pun intended) on the draft’s most powerful blocker, especially with one with experience on the blindside? Even when taking his season-ending injury into account, Burrow was still tied for ninth in sacks allowed.

The Bengals partly made up for passing on Sewell with the signing of Riley Reiff (who replaces the ineffective former Giant Bobby Hart) but the left side is guarded by tackle Jonah Williams and guard Quinton Spain. Williams is a first-round pick from 2019 that has had trouble staying healthy while Spain takes on larger duties after losing a competition against Cody Ford and Brian Winters in Buffalo.

The Jets won’t have the services of Lawson but it’s going to be crucial to attack Burrow’s blindside and make the Bengals regret their fateful decision. It’ll be a particularly big chance for those lining up on the outside, ready to attack the already vulnerable Bengal backfield.

carl lawson, new york jets

-Do It For Carl

One of the Lawson-centric metrics Jets fans are probably sick of…or can’t get enough of…seeing is the fact that Lawson was one of only 11 defenders to reach double-figures (10.5) in the “Sacks Created” advanced category. That number becomes downright jaw-dropping when a look at the defensive rankings reveals that the Bengals earned a mere 17 sacks last season…the worst output in the league.

There would be, perhaps, no better tribute to Lawson than to make the Bengals realize just how much they miss Lawson. That’ll come down to the offensive line working against Cincinnati’s adjusted pass rush. The Bengals also drafted Texas’ Joseph Ossai in the third round (29 tackles over the last two seasons), but he’s starting the season on injured reserve and could be out the whole year. Much like the Bengals will look to take advantage of the Jets’ fledgling, developing secondary, the Jets must take advantage of a Queen City pass rush searching for clarity and momentum.

If anyone knows just how deadly a Cincinnati pass rush attack can be. In their last get-together in November 2019…when the Jets fell to an 0-11 Bengals squad…Sam Darnold was sacked four times and knocked down nine more: six times alone by Dunlap and one further time by Lawson himself. The Bengals’ visit with a new quarterback to protect is a big chance to show how far they’ve come.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

The top prospects that the New York Giants cannot pass on at eleven overall

The New York Giants have set themselves up to have an abundance of options with the eleventh overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. New York used to have a couple of glaring needs to address with their first-round pick. Before free agency, nearly everyone assumed that the Giants would add an offensive playmaker or possibly an outside cornerback in the first round. After the Giants signed Kenny Golladay and Adoree Jackson, that assumption changed.

Now the Giants can simply select the best player available at eleven overall. Or they could address a different position of need. They are no longer pigeon-holed into selecting a wide receiver. Yet, they still could, if they wanted to, in theory.

There might be some wide receiver prospects that the Giants cannot pass on at eleven overall. But there are prospects at other positions that are also “must-draft” prospects if on the board for the Giants. These “must-draft” prospects are few and far between and also unlikely to fall to eleven. But if one of them does, the Giants know what they need to do.

Must-draft prospects at eleven overall

There are a couple of quarterbacks that no team can pass on. But the Giants are not in a position to draft them, so let’s move on to the realistic “must-draft” options at eleven.

The premiere protector

Penei Sewell is very unlikely to drop to eleven. The Oregon left tackle prospect has been given the “generational prospect” tag by some scouts and seems like a top-five lock. However, he has dropped to eleven in some rare mock drafts. And it is not completely outside of the realm of possibilities that he falls outside the top ten. A team could value Rashawn Slater above Sewell, causing Sewell to drop a few extra spots. Plus, there are a bunch of offensive weapons that will likely go in the top ten. And there are about four quarterbacks expected to be drafted in the top ten. So it is possible that Sewell can be the forgotten man that gets pushed down the board. If Penei Sewell falls in the Giants’ laps at eleven, they sprint to the podium with his name on their draft card.

The offensive weapons

Speaking of those offensive weapons, there are a couple of playmakers that the Giants should not pass up on to draft a position of need. Wide receiver is no longer a pressing need, but if the Giants have the ability to draft the likes of Kyle Pitts, Jaylen Waddle, or Ja’Marr Chase, they have to pull the trigger.

Kyler Pitts has the potential to be a Hall of Fame tight end. Jaylen Waddle is the top wide receiver prospect on The Draft Network’s board, due to his game-breaking speed and ability to separate on routes. Ja’Marr Chase just blew everyone away with his sub 4.38s 40-yard dash time to match his NFL-ready skillset as an outside receiver. For these reasons, these three players are unlikely to be available at eleven. But if they are there, they would be incredible additions that would transform the Giants’ offense.

The dynamic defender

The Giants have a clear need at edge rusher on their roster. However, there are no top-ten locks at the position in this year’s draft class. There is a defender in this class, though, that is an obvious top-ten talent. But he is not a top-ten lock. Micah Parsons is an incredible linebacker prospect that has fallen down draft boards due to some off-the-field rumors and allegations.

Micah Parsons has elite pass-rushing and run-stuffing ability as an off-ball linebacker. He might not be a stud in pass coverage, but given his athletic ability, he has room to grow in that regard with limitless potential. Parsons could be a prospect that turns the Giants’ defense into a top-five unit in the league. He might be a player that gets skipped over due to the off-the-field concerns, but if those boxes are checked off then his talent is too good to pass up at eleven overall.

New York Giants: The Draft Network names wide receiver as number one need

New York Giants, Devonta Smith

Going into the NFL Draft as well as free agency, the New York Giants have more than one need they need to fill before they can take a step forward. They did nearly make it into the playoffs in 2020, but a lot of luck was involved for them to stay in the race and the Giants can’t count on that again this year. However, while their need to add talent is clear, it’s not so clear just where that talent needs to go.

We can, however, get some idea of which areas the Giants might be looking at just from looking at the tape last season. The Draft Network, one of the better outlets breaking down draft prospects every year, did just that and came up with a list of positions the Giants need to address – receiver was at the top of it.

Taking a look at the options

Without a true No. 1 receiver, Jones and the entire New York offense struggled to put together drives all year in 2020. Filling that role in free agency or the draft could boost Jones’ performance and confidence, in turn benefiting the entire Giants offense.

Kenny Golladay is a great fit here in free agency, and after trade deadline rumors linking him with the Giants, it’s likely New York is continuing to look at Golladay as one of their options.

Golladay has been a thousand yard receiver for the past couple years when he’s been healthy, but his availability is in question. It looks like the Giants have the highest chance of picking up a playmaker through the draft, where there’s a number of highly rated receiver prospects such as Ja’Marr Chase, DeVonta Smith, and Jaylen Waddle.

It’s likely that one or two of these players will be off the board by the time the Giants pick at number eleven overall, but considering the depth at the position in this class, they have a chance to get a quality playmaker that will help Daniel Jones regardless. Assuming, of course, the Giants go the orthodox route and take a receiver – under Dave Gettleman, you never quite know if they’ll take the expected path, after all.

The prospects that the New York Giants cannot pass up if they fall to eleven

New York Giants, LSU, Ja'Marr Chase

The New York Giants hold the eleventh overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. The eleventh pick has a lot of value this year. There are a number of intriguing prospects that the Giants will likely have the opportunity to select in the first round. But, being outside the top ten, there are a few players that are most likely not going to fall to eleven.

The Giants will probably draft one of the better prospects in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. But will they realistically be able to draft one of the best prospects? Could one of those top-three prospects in the class? It is not likely, but there is a possibility, as many analysts continue to point out with their various mock drafts.

There are a few prospects that Giants fans should be hoping and praying will fall to them at eleven. When the Giants are on the clock, there are specific prospects that are too good to pass up on, no matter that the Giants already have on their roster.

Trevor Lawrence

No, Trevor Lawrence will not fall to eleven. But if he does, the Giants have to take him. Daniel Jones has shown some promise, but Lawrence is arguably the greatest quarterback prospect to ever come out of college. If not, he is certainly in that conversation. New York is not that comfortable at quarterback.

Ja’Marr Chase

There are three wide receivers that are being consistently mocked in the top-ten picks of the 2021 NFL Draft. One of these players, though, has been consistently mocked inside the top five for a long time. LSU’s Ja’Marr chase is not likely to fall to eleven, but as draft boards continue to shift as time inches closer to April, there is always going to be that unlikely possibility.

The Giants are likely going to pursue a wide receiver in free agency. They are interested in Kenny Golladay, but he is probably going to be franchise tagged by the Detroit Lions. Now, even if the Giants land Golladay by some divine miracle, they should still draft Ja’Marr Chase if he is on the board at eleven. They cannot pass up on a wide receiver of Chase’s caliber, especially when considering the Giants averaged only 17.5 points per game in 2020. A team can never have enough fire power in today’s NFL.

He opted out of the 2020 season, but in 2019, Ja’Marr Chase was far and away the best wide receiver in the NCAA. He totaled an insane 1,780 receiving yards and 20 receiving touchdowns that season en route to a National Championship victory. Chase’s record-breaking season instantly propelled him to the top of draft charts at the beginning of the process. But now, draft boards are shifting, and some boards have Chase as their third-best receiver in the class. Many are beginning to favor the Alabama boys, Devonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle.

Given the dominant collegiate career that Ja’Marr Chase had, he is still likely a top-ten pick in 2021. But if he somehow slips, Chase would be the truly dominant outside receiving threat that Daniel Jones needs to unlock the next level of his game.

Penei Sewell

Another player whose draft stock has started to shift is offensive tackle Penei Sewell. The Oregon prospect was, at one time, considered to be a “generational” offensive tackle prospect and a top-three lock. Now, it seems very likely that Sewell falls out of the top three, maybe even out of the top five, and some analysts even have him falling outside of the top ten.

For example, Pro Football Focus’s Anthony Treash has Sewell falling to the eleventh overall pick as a home run selection for the New York Giants in his latest mock draft. NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah also had Sewell as the second offensive tackle selected in his first mock draft of the offseason.

Penei Sewell’s draft stock has started to shift, but it is still very unlikely that he falls outside the top ten. Sewell is still the second overall prospect in this year’s class via The Draft Network. Many still believe Penei is a “generational talent.” But those who do not see him as such will still see him as a prospect that the Giants could not pass up on at eleven overall.

New York Giants could find desired receiving threat in second round of 2021 NFL Draft

new york giants, terrace marshall

The New York Giants will be in the market for a wide receiver this offseason. Both general manager Dave Gettleman and co-owner John Mara promised to add playmakers to the offense this “roster-building” season. New York will certainly be targeting a receiving threat in free agency or the draft if they are not able to sign a top-tier playmaker.

Many Giants fans are in consensus agreement that their team needs to spend their eleventh overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft on a wide receiver. While the position is certainly a great need for New York, they should not feel like it is first round or nothing at wide receiver. There are a few enticing receiving options for the Giants to consider in the second round.

Second-round wide receiver targets

There are a few talented wide receivers that the New York Giants could target in the second round of the draft. The 2021 is a class loaded with premium wide receiver talent. This gives the Giants more opportunities to find their playmaker.

There are three wide receivers who are seemingly locked in as top-fifteen draft picks; Devonta Smith, Jaylen Waddle, and Ja’Marr Chase. But outside of this big three, there are other exciting receiver prospects that could be available down the line.

Terrace Marshall Jr.

The LSU wide receiver getting all the buzz leading up to the draft is Ja’Marr Chase. Chase was dominant in 2019, totaling an insane  1,780 receiving yards with 20 receiving touchdowns. But Chase was also playing alongside another playmaker in the LSU receiving corpse.

Terrace Marshall Jr. played that complimentary, WR2 role in LSU’s offense in 2019. As the secondary receiver, Terrace recorded 671 yards and 13 touchdowns. Moving into a more expanded role in 2020, Marshall was legit, racking up 731 yards and 10 touchdowns in only 7 games.

Marshall averaged more than 100 receiving yards per game as the primary target in LSU’s 2020 offensive attack. Terrace has something that the receivers on the Giants’ roster do not have: size. New York’s tallest starting receiver is Darius Slayton at 6 feet 1 inch, 190 pounds. Terrace Marshall is 6 feet 3 inches, 200 pounds. Marshall could be a solid big-body outside wide receiver option for the Giants, something they are currently lacking in their offensive scheme.

According to Joe Marino of The Draft Network, Terrace Marshall Jr. “offers terrific size, physicality, hands, ball skills, run after catch ability, route-running skills, and overall technical-refinement.” Terrace would be a perfect fit for the Giants if they go wide receiver in round two.

Rondale Moore

The Giants could go a totally different route, though, at wide receiver in the second round. Rondale Moore is another excellent talent, but with a totally different playing style. Rather than being a big-bodied, physical wide receiver like Terrace Marshall Jr., Rondale Moore is an explosive, speedy option in round two.

Playing at Purdue for the last three years, Rondale is listed at only 5 feet 9 inches and has drawn comparisons to elite Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill. Moore has reportedly ran a 4.33s forty-yard dash at Minnesota, giving him elite speed downfield.

Moore is a tough sell in round one, though, for good reason. Rondale is explosive and has elite athletic traits. But he has not been able to stay healthy throughout his collegiate career. Moore has dealt with lingering lower-body injuries since 2018 and missed the majority of the 2019 season. In 2020, Rondale opted out, then back into the season, but played in only three games. There has not been a lot of clarification as to the reason why he missed so much time in 2020. Moore could be injured, or could be healthy. He is likely injured, but there has been no confirmation.

Rondale Moore is interesting because he has an extremely high, atrium ceiling. But he also has a terrifyingly low, Mariana Trench floor. Will Rondale Moore ever be able to stay healthy and reach his potential? That is the crucial question. He has all of the elite athletic traits that creative playcallers dream about. But Moore’s inability to stay on the field might keep teams from taking a chance on him early on in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Drafting Rondale Moore would add another element currently foreign to the Giants’ offense. The Giants do not have a guy with game-breaking speed like Moore possesses. He is truly electric and could change the way New York’s offense attacks if they decide to take a chance on this risky round two prospect.

New York Giants: Is Julio Jones a potential trade target for the Giants?

New York Giants, Julio Jones

One of the greatest wide receivers of this generation is rumored to be on the market this offseason. Could Julio Jones be a good fit for the New York Giants’ offense with Daniel Jones? The Giants should at least monitor the Julio Jones situation.

Jones is one of the best receivers in the NFL and has had an elite career thus far, but is getting up there in age. He is also coming off an injury-filled year. Should the Giants still consider making a move on Jones this offseason?

The Falcons have one of the best wide receiver duos in the NFL with Jones and Calvin Ridley. With the emergence of Ridley, he has shown wide receiver one numbers when Jones has been injured this past season. Matt Ryan, the Falcons’ quarterback, is also aging. Seems like Jones is the odd man out.

Once the new Falcons general manager is hired, he will assess the roster and whether to rebuild the Falcons or stay with the team as is and try to make a playoff push.

Jones has been on and off the field all year, playing only nine games this season. In those nine games, Jones has shown he still got it hauling in 51 catches for 771 yards but only three touchdowns. With Jones missing seven games, you would like to see more touchdowns, but Jones has been dealing with injuries all year.

Questions

The questions all Giants fans are asking right now are, why would we be interested in Julio Jones, and what is it going to cost the Giants to acquire a player like him?

The Giants need a difference-maker on the offensive side of the ball; Jones would be just that. Daniel Jones or any Giants quarterback, at that matter, needs a player they can trust that will go up and get the ball. Jones is faster, taller, and stronger than anyone the Giants currently have on the outside. He is a freak of nature, and from what he has shown this past year, he still can ball.

The cost to get Julio in New York is very hard to say. Jones is 31 currently and aging, it will be hard for the Giants to give up a first-round pick for an aging player. The Falcons traded wide receiver Mohommad Sanu to the New England Patriots for a second-round pick in 2019. If Sanu got traded for a second-round pick, I could only imagine what the Falcons would want for Julio Jones.

Not only will the Giants have to give up assets to get Julio Jones, but the Giants will also have to create a little bit more cap space as well. Jones’ cap hit in 2021 will be around $23 million dollars, which is very high for a wide receiver. In 2022 and 2023, the cap hit will get more affordable, being around $19 million dollars but after that, Jones has an opt-out in his deal.

Forget Julio Jones, draft a receiver:

Would you trade your first-round pick for Julio Jones or keep your first-round pick and draft one of two premier receivers in this year’s draft class? Some really want Ja’Marr Chase from LSU or Devonta Smith from Alabama. Which sounds better, Julio Jones or one of the two rookies?

If the Giants have a chance to go with one of the two premier receivers in this draft class, it will be hard to pass them up. If the Giants miss both of the receivers, that is when I think you could see the Giants try to make a play on a talent like Julio Jones.

Forget Julio Jones and drafting a receiver, sign one:

The Giants will also be looking to sign one of the top receivers in free agency if they do not decide to go with one in the draft. Allen Robinson, Kenny Golladay, Chris Godwin, Will Fuller, Curtis Samuel, and Corey Davis are some of the big-name receivers that could be hitting the open market this offseason.

Robinson is looking to win, which considering the state of the Giants, he might stay away. Golladay has missed 12 games this season and could take a one-year prove-it deal with the Giants. Godwin, in my opinion, will not hit the open market. The Buccaneers will either franchise tag or extend him this offseason. Fuller got caught with PEDs in the middle of the season, but his performance on the field is something the Giants could be interested in. Samuel is more of a number two receiver but could be a good outside receiver with Sterling Shepard in the slot and Darius Slayton on the opposite side. The last receiver we have is Corey Davis, he has ties with safety Logan Ryan from the Tennessee Titans. Davis has been injury-prone much of his career but will fit the Giants scheme if he stays healthy.

What should the Giants do?

The New York Giants have to bolster their wide receiver corps. If the Giants have to trade for a stud like Julio Jones, or sign a big-time receiver this offseason, and or go young and draft an absolute stud receiver. Either way, I do not think the Giants will not leave this offseason empty-handed.

Why the New York Giants need to select Ja’Marr Chase in 2021

New York Giants, LSU, Ja'Marr Chase

It remains to be seen where the New York Giants will finish this season, but the team will almost certainly draft high in the first round. Barring a shocking turnaround through the last six games of the season, the team should be around the top ten when they make their selection. And if they are in that spot, there’s one player that stands out as a major possible addition to the offense – Ja’Marr Chase, from LSU.

The last time the Giants took a receiver from LSU, of course, that receiver ended up being a big deal. Odell Beckham Jr.’s time with the franchise can appropriately be called an era, and the team’s fates rose and fell with Beckham. They last made the playoffs during a year when Beckham made the Pro Bowl for the third straight time. And as Beckham struggled with injury the next season, the Giants fell off.

They still don’t have a receiver that’s as much of a star and part of the offense as Beckham was. Sterling Shepard was supposed to fill the role, but he has yet to have a 1,000 yard season. He hasn’t repeated his 8 touchdown rookie season, either.

But the Giants do have a chance to pick up a true star receiver in the Draft this offseason, if Chase isn’t off the board by the time they pick.

A prolific college football career

Odell Beckham Jr. surprised a lot of people when he turned out to be as effective as he was for the Giants. Ja’Marr Chase becoming a star in the NFL would likely surprise a lot less people. His resume coming out of LSU is stronger than Beckham’s, and stronger than most NFL wide receiver prospects.

Joe Burrow was the top draft pick this year and his final season was called the best ever by a college quarterback by some. But Chase was his top target during that season. Chase registered 1,780 yards and 20 touchdowns, before opting out of the 2020 season to focus on draft preparation.

But his statistics are still holding up.

As of week eleven of the current college season, Chase was still the leader on 20+ yard touchdown receptions since 2019. And that’s despite not stepping onto the field this year.

It’s easier for the Giants to win with Daniel Jones if there’s weapons available. Chase is an offensive weapon that will almost certainly be drafted around the top ten. If they’re in a position to draft him come 2021, they would be wise to take a chance and do it even if wide receiver isn’t the biggest need on the team.

Even if it isn’t, helping Daniel Jones and improving the passing offense would bring the team forward further in the rebuilding process. And it might be a while before there’s as promising of a wide receiver prospect available to the Giants.

New York Giants could land star WR Ja’Marr Chase in 2021 NFL Draft

New York Giants, LSU, Ja'Marr Chase

The 2020 season for the New York Giants is going to be just if not more difficult than the 2019 campaign. With the fourth-strongest schedule in the NFL, the Giants are gearing up to face off again some of the league’s best talent on a weekly basis. Their defense is still in a rebuilding phase, and franchise quarterback Daniel Jones is only in year two. There is no guarantee that the team will even improve, but we can estimate most of the graduating year one defenders will take a gradual step forward.

However, based on the strength of the schedule and the state of the roster, the Giants could very well end up with a top-five pick in 2021. That would put them in range to land stud wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase out of LSU. Chase is an elite wideout, standing at 6 foot one and 205 pounds. He won the Biletnikoff Award, coining him as the nation’s top receiver in 2019 with 84 receptions, 1,789-yards, and 20 touchdowns.

Adding a receiver as talented as Chase to a Giants unit that could lose Golden State next season due to Costs would be a huge step forward. His speed and catch rate are awe-inspiring, and pairing him with Jones and Saquon Barkley would make the offense as intimidating as any. If the star LSU player would have committed to the draft this year, he easily would’ve been a top 10 pick, but waiting until next off-season could guarantee him a top-five selection, increasing his monetary gain over the first five years of his NFL career.

What the New York Giants’ wide receiver corps would look like:

Let’s assume that the Giants cut Tate and save $6 million in cap space; they would be left with Darius Slayton, Sterling Shepard, and Chase. This could be an elite trio, as y has shown immense potential in his young career, and Shepard is a proven commodity that can dominate from the slot position. Two speedsters like Chase and Slayton would wreak havoc in defensive backfields, and as Slayton’s route tree expands, Daniel Jones would have plenty of weapons to utilize in the passing game.

Early 2021 Mock Sees New York Giants Bolster Receiver Position

New York Giants

It’s too early to know what’s going to happen in the 2021 NFL Draft, but with the sports world still recovering from disrupted seasons and the NFL still in the period of offseason between the draft and training camp, there’s no harm in making predictions that may be accurate or may be wildly off.

Draft Wire has released their earliest predictions for 2021 already, and the New York Giants are included with some of the other worst teams in the league in draft position – in fact, if this mock draft is accurate, the Giants will end up picking fourth for the second year in a row. This time, it would be behind the Redskins, Jaguars, and Bengals. Unsurprisingly, it’s two quarterbacks that Draft Wire has going in the first two picks, with Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields going to Washington and Jacksonville respectively.

When the Giants pick at fourth, it’s another offensive player that Draft Wire predicts going off the board, this time at the receiver position. The Giants take Ja’Marr Chase at number four overall, which would strengthen the current depth the team has at receiver.

Breaking down the selection

Chase is notably from the same school that produced Odell Beckham Jr., and could do similar things in the league to OBJ. In fact, Chase is more of an obvious selection coming out of college than Beckham was, when the Giants took a chance on him that ended up paying off more than expected. Chase is more accomplished in the college ranks, having already led the FBS in receiving yards and touchdowns in 2019 while winning the Biletnikoff Award for the nation’s best receiver.

Receiver isn’t the most pressing need for the Giants right now but that could change depending on the performances of Sterling Shepard. Shepard was supposed to go into last season as the number one player at the position after getting his new deal, but struggled with concussions and could have big problems keeping his role if this problem of his continues next year.

The Giants also have a new presence at receiver in Darius Slayton but after a very fast start to his career it remains to be seen how well Slayton will capitalize on his newfound success. In other words, the Giants have some talent at wide receiver already but they have some question marks, and they may very well end up going into the 2021 offseason with a need for a true number one receiver like Odell Beckham Jr. was for a few years.

They may just find that in Chase, the player who had 1,780 yards and 20 touchdowns during the 2019 season as a sophomore… Numbers that don’t show up often for college receivers playing at the highest levels of NCAA football.