Bengals and Ja’Marr Chase smokescreens hitting overdrive before NFL draft

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Chris Roling
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One underrated element of last year’s sprint to the NFL draft was the lack of smokescreens involving the Cincinnait Bengals. Joe Burrow was the pick and everyone knew it.

With the Bengals sitting at fifth overall this year…not so much.

While it does seem the two primary options for the Bengals are LSU wideout Ja’Marr Chase or Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell, the smokescreens around those two are quick thick.

This is especially true with Chase. He has, for example, noted that he’s talked with the Bengals multiple times. And a recent report hinted that Burrow himself has nudged the Bengals toward drafting his former teammate.

But now Trey Wingo of Pro Football Network says he’s received a text from a Bengals coach shooting down the idea Burrow asked the Bengals to draft Chase.

So which is it? Good luck figuring it out — welcome to smokescreen season.

Burrow has surely given the Bengals a ton of intel on Chase and has said in the past he wouldn’t mind a reunion. He’s also probably comfortable with whatever the team decides to do, though we don’t know his true level of input with the front office’s maneuverings.

But on paper, if the Bengals wanted to make other teams think they weren’t going to take Chase — so that he falls to them — they’d leak something along the lines of shooting down the Burrow reunion or suggest they really like somebody else.

We won’t know the truth of it until the draft itself and until then, the Bengals have to play the smokescreen game like every other team that doesn’t hold the first pick. It’s part fun, part annoying and just a part of the process.

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