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LSU quarterback Joe Burrow (9) celebrates with LSU wide receiver JaMarr Chase (1) after a touchdown in the first half as the Bulldogs host the Tigers, Saturday, October 19, 2019, at Davis Wade Stadium in Starkville, Miss.

A pair of LSU Tigers could soon be starring on Sunday with the Bengals, but it's a different animal that may have teased Ja'Marr Chase's landing spot in the upcoming NFL draft.

When the Eagles pulled off a trade this week to drop back from the No. 6 selection to No. 12 while adding additional assets, it was done with the belief that Chase wouldn't fall past Cincinnati at No. 5, according to a report from Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated.

Despite opting out of the 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic, Chase has remained atop draft boards and is expected to be one of the top pass-catchers picked on Day 1 of the 2021 NFL Draft, scheduled for April 29. That would mark the second consecutive season the Bengals selected an LSU title-winner with their top selection, after picking Burrow No. 1 overall in 2020.

Burrow and Chase combined to rewrite most lines in the program record book in 2019, with the pair combining for 20 touchdowns -- which also set a new SEC record. In all Chase caught 84 passes for 1,780 yards and won the Fred Biletnikoff Award as the NCAA's top pass-catcher.

Chase's former teammate, Justin Jefferson, was drafted in the first round last season by the Minnesota Vikings and emerged as a star, catching 88 passes for 1,400 yards and 7 touchdowns. Jefferson finished second in the Rookie of the Year voting behind Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert.

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Burrow also faces a difficult road in his second offseason as he works back from the major knee injury that ended his rookie season after just 10 games. But the Ohio native impressed during that time, making his rookie debut in Week 1 and throwing for 2,688 yards and 13 touchdowns against just five interceptions. 

If the Bengals do pick Chase at No. 5, that would mark the highest selection of any former LSU wide receiver in program history. Odell Beckham Jr. currently holds that distinction as the No. 12 overall pick by the New York Giants in 2014.

But even if the rumors of interest from the Bengals hold true, there are four other teams who could pounce first. The Jacksonville Jaguars hold the top selection, followed by the New York Jets, San Francisco 49ers and Atlanta Falcons. Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence is the odds-on favorite to be the top selection, with quarterbacks Zach Wilson (BYU), Trey Lance (North Dakota State) and Justin Fields (Ohio State) all anticipated as potential early picks, according to NFLMockDraftDatabase.

More answers could emerge soon, with LSU scheduled to hold its pro day on March 31, in lieu of the traditional pre-draft combine circuit. Chase will be among eight LSU draft hopefuls participating in that event.

For the full report from Sports Illustrated, click here.

Email Jeff Nowak at

Twitter: @Jeff_Nowak