Ja'Marr Chase takes a shot at Justin Jefferson, and he couldn't be more wrong

Ja'Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson were teammates in college, but Chase doesn't think there's any competition for the title of 'Best WR.'

Ja'Marr Chase, Cincinnati Bengals
Ja'Marr Chase, Cincinnati Bengals / Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY
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The Cincinnati Bengals have strung together back-to-back wins to keep pace with a crowded AFC Wild Card race. Backup QB Jake Browning has been unexpectedly successful guiding the offense in Joe Burrow's absence. He totaled 275 yards and two touchdowns in Sunday's 34-14 victory over the Indianapolis Colts.

As always, Ja'Marr Chase has been at the front and center of the Bengals' offensive success. He is, without a doubt, one of the best at his position. A recent product of the LSU wide receiver factory, Chase has benefitted from an ongoing partnership with his college teammate in Burrow. Since his arrival at the No. 5 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, Chase has hauled in 257 of 390 targets for 3,593 yards and 29 touchdowns. He is currently on track for the highest catch percentage of his career (69.3).

The 23-year-old has every reason for self-confidence. When confronted with a question about whether or not Chase is one of the best wide receivers in football, however, the wideout rejected the premise. He considers himself the best, period.

He was specifically asked about Justin Jefferson, a former LSU teammate who has carved out a successful career with the Minnesota Vikings. Chase makes clear that he is No. 1 in that equation.

Ja'Marr Chase considers himself No. 1 WR in football, takes shot at Justin Jefferson

Jefferson's résumé is hardly up for debate. Chase has more touchdowns in 14 fewer games, but that is a product of system and quarterback, not necessarily talent. Jefferson has hauled in 362 of 532 targets for 5,423 yards and 28 scores. He's in his fourth season, having entered the league a year earlier than Chase.

While Chase broke out as a rookie, averaging 18.0 yards per catch, his explosiveness has waned over the last two years. He's averaging fewer yards per catch (14.0) for his career than Jefferson (15.0). The latter also started his career with back-to-back-to-back seasons over 1,400 total yards. Not so for Chase, who only managed 1,046 as an NFL sophomore. That was partially injury-related, and Jefferson will fall short of his fourth straight 1,400-yard campaign for that very same reason. But, in terms of sheer volume of production, Jefferson has Chase beat.

The argument can, perhaps, be mounted on the skill front. Chase is stronger, faster. Jefferson has the slight size advantage, with a penchant for route-running and high-pointing that very few NFL wide receivers can match.

Jefferson has done nothing to dissuade the general public from his title as the league's No. 1 wideout. If anything, Tyreek Hill's exclusion here is notable. He might have the best all-around case. Chase has been elite despite injuries and non-ideal QB circumstances in year three, but it's hard to say he has meaningfully exceeded (or even matched) Jefferson.

Still, Chase oozes with confidence, a quality trait in a wide receiver who is tasked with shouldering such a critical offensive load.

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