Star LSU wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase will attend the NFL draft in person in Cleveland, which means the highly rated prospect will participate in the league's ceremonious return to its more usual fanfare after the coronavirus pandemic forced the annual event to be done virtually last year.
Chase is projected to be a high first-round pick, and some mock drafts have him going as high as No. 5 overall to the Cincinnati Bengals, where he'd rejoin former LSU teammate Joe Burrow, or No. 6 overall to the Miami Dolphins.
The NFL announced last month that the draft, which takes place April 29 until May 1, will be held in iconic Cleveland locations, including FirstEnergy Stadium, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and the Great Lakes Science Center.
Chase will attend the event, his agent, Rocky Arcenaux said, while his family hosts a draft party in their hometown in New Orleans.
The 2019 Biletnikoff Award winner has seemed to solidify his position as one of the top players in this year's draft even though he missed the entire 2020 season after opting out during preseason camp.
An impressive showing at LSU's pro day helped significantly, where the 6-foot, 201-pound receiver impressed pro scouts with a 4.38-second time in the 40-yard dash, then posted a 41-inch vertical jump plus an 11-foot broad jump.
"I would say I kind of surprised myself," Chase said then.
The pro day event showed Chase was still in considerable playing shape, able to physically compete at the same level as he did in 2019, when his compact, explosive body helped him separate from defenders and sprint for breakaway touchdowns. It's what made him a unanimous All-American who set Southeastern Conference records for single-season receiving yards (1,780) and touchdowns (20).
Those records fell to Alabama's DeVonta Smith, last year's Heisman Trophy winner who washed over Chase's records with 1,856 yards and 23 touchdown receptions in a 13-game, national title season that was shortened by the global pandemic. Smith is also scheduled to appear in person in Cleveland, according to The Associated Press.
If Chase is selected where he's projected to land, LSU will have had Top 10 picks in three consecutive seasons. Linebacker Devin White was selected No. 5 overall by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2019, and the Cincinnati Bengals took Burrow with the No. 1 overall pick last season.
The Heisman Trophy-winning Burrow would've had a ceremonious boat ride across the Bellagio fountains in Las Vegas last year, had the NFL draft not been forced to be done virtually in the beginnings of the pandemic. Burrow instead watched the draft from home with his family in Athens, Ohio.
Sports Illustrated reported that the Cincinnati Bengals are interested with Chase at No. 5 overall. Chase confirmed he has indeed spoken with the Bengals and "wouldn't mind going back with Joe."
"You know, if we go back together," Chase said, "we'd try to do nothing but get back the chemistry and have some more fun."