CINCINNATI — ESPN’s Bill Barnwell unveiled his annual NFL offensive weapon rankings, and Cincinnati “comfortably” came in first place. Cincinnati ranked 23rd on this list in 2020—and 13th last year—now there is no doubt which offense has the horses to overpower every team in the league.
Ja’Marr Chase is one of the obvious reasons why the Bengals have an elite group of weapons.
“‘I’m always a little skeptical about the impact of rookies when I make these rankings,’ I said to start last year’s Bengals blurb, ‘but it’s not hard to be more optimistic about Ja’Marr Chase than the vast majority of other first-year wideouts.’ Well, I undersold things,” Barnwell admitted. “Chase was sensational during an instant classic of a rookie campaign, as a fling with the drops in training camp gave way to a 1,455-yard catch, 13-touchdown season. He averaged 11.5 yards per target, second in the league behind Samuel. Yes, he dropped eight passes. When you do what he does with his other 119 targets, you can drop a pass every other week.”
In Barnwell’s eyes, this wasn’t much of a debate for the top weapons group among all 32 teams.
“In the end, I felt like the Bengals were comfortably No. 1 in these rankings,” Barnwell said. “It’s a massive leap for an organization that ranked 23rd two years ago. Of course, in successive drafts, they added a pair of star wide receivers in Higgins and Chase. Plenty of teams will emulate their plan to try to surround their young quarterback with skill-position talent, but it’s not quite so simple, as the Eagles and Giants can tell you. The Bengals swung for the fences and landed two superstars in two seasons. The league’s best set of offensive playmakers helped take them all the way from 2-14 to the Super Bowl.”
Objectively speaking, the Bengals should be one of (if not the best) offenses in the NFL this fall. Joe Burrow is fresh off his first normal offseason, and all of his playmakers are in the middle of or entering their primes.
The rocketship is chock full of fuel, time to liftoff.
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