LSU football star Ja’Marr Chase should be flattered by comparison to Anquan Boldin

Ja'Marr Chase, LSU Tigers. (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images)
Ja'Marr Chase, LSU Tigers. (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images) /

Is LSU receiver Ja’Marr Chase the next Anquan Boldin?

After a 23-catch freshman campaign, LSU wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase had a big 2019 season for the national champion Tigers with 84 receptions for 1,780 yards (21.2 yards per catch) and 20 touchdowns. The yardage and touchdowns led the country and set SEC single-season records. Chase also won the Fred Biletnikoff Award, as the nation’s top wide receiver.

Chase heads into his junior season as a top prospect for the 2021 NFL Draft, and the No. 1 wide receiver for most draft analysts. ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. has pretty much gone all-in, comparing Chase to Julio Jones and A.J. Green on SportsCenter earlier in the week.

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“I think there’s six more (first-round picks) this year (at wide receiver),” Kiper said on Tuesday’s edition of SportsCenter, via 247Sports. “LSU lost a lot of players to the draft but the one key player returning Ja’Marr Chase. Think about a wide receiver with his kind of physicality in contested situations. He wins those battles for LSU. He did it for Burrow. Now he’ll do it in a situation with Burrow moving on and a new quarterback stepping in. Ja’Marr Chase in that Clemson game, nine catches in that game, two touchdowns, 84 receptions on the year. He’s in that AJ Green, Julio Jones category in the elite of the draft.”

With Joe Burrow, Justin Jefferson and Clyde Edwards-Helaire off to the NFL as first-round picks, the spotlight will be even more on Chase this year.

In his own study of Chase, NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah compared him to Anquan Boldin.

Boldin (6-foot-1, 220 pounds) is an apt comparison to Chase (6-foot-1, 200 pounds) from a height and weight standpoint. It’s also safe to say Chase is faster than Boldin, who posted a 4.7 40 time at the 2003 NFL Combine on his way being a second-round pick of the Arizona Cardinals. But as Boldin and others have shown, timed speed in shorts is not a director indicator of football ability.

Boldin made an immediate impact in the NFL, with 101 receptions for 1,377 yards as a rookie in 2003. Over 14 seasons he had 1,076 receptions for 13,799 yards and 82 touchdowns, as he was especially known for his fearlessness and strong hands. In 2008, he notably missed just three games after taking a huge hit and suffering fractured sinuses in his face.

Being compared to Boldin is obviously not quite on the same level as being compared to Jones or Green. But if Chase ends up having an NFL career like Boldin’s, he will go down as a success.

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