The Bengals opted for a running back with breakaway speed Saturday when they took Chase Brown of Illinois in the fifth round of the NFL Draft.
Characterized by Ourlads Scouting Services as "a hard-nosed blazer with the kind of homerun ability that can change an offense in an instant," the 5-9, 215-pound Brown was timed in a 4.38 40-yard dash. He's a three-year starter, All Big Ten and a high school track star growing up in Ontario, Canada.
The Bengals are looking to beef up a running back room that had just Joe Mixon, Trayveon Williams and Chris Evans before the Brown pick. Offensive coordinator Brian Callahan indicated that Brown is in the mix for the No. 3 job, which is active on game day. Evidence of Brown's ability to pass protect is limited because he was such a workhorse for the Illini and he didn't have a big career catching the ball. But there's no question he's an accomplished runner. He's coming off a 1,643-yard season and averaged five yards per his 328 carries. Since transferring from Western Michigan after his freshman season, he's carried more than 600 times for a 5,3-yard average and has two 1,000-yard seasons.
See the best photos of RB Chase Brown, the Bengals fifth pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.