Despite late chatter about the Miami Dolphins potentially making a push to move up to the 1st-overall pick, in the end, the Cincinnati Bengals opted to hold their ground and snag themselves the new face of their franchise.
Heisman Trophy winner, National Champion quarterback and former LSU star, Joe Burrow was the first player to hear his name called from the depths of Roger Goodell’s basement on Thursday night, as the Bengals selected him with the inaugural pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
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Bengals Draft QB Joe Burrow 1st-Overall
Move over Andy Dalton, there’s a new quarterback in Cincinnati. After three consecutive losing seasons, the organization has finally decided to move in a different direction at the most important position in football.
Burrow is fresh off a spectacular season in which he went on to earn a National Championship as well as a Heisman Trophy. The former Mr. Football Award recipient and Gatorade Player of the Year in the state of Ohio saw his NFL Draft stock skyrocket following his breakout 2019 campaign.
Originally slated as a developmental, late-round flyer by most draft experts prior to the college football season, Burrow put the NFL on notice working alongside now-Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator Joe Brady.
Burrow nearly doubled his passing yards from his first season with the Tigers to his second (2,894 in 2018 to 5,671 in 2019) while accounting for an outright absurd 65 total touchdowns.
The Bengals may be mocked on a national scale, but Cincinnati’s offense actually has the makings of a potentially lethal unit. Depending on how good Burrow proves to be, he can help the Bengals return to playoff contention for the first time since 2015.
Cincinnati will likely need to smooth things out with disgruntled running back Joe Mixon moving forward, as he’s eyeing a new contract. Additionally, AJ Green was less than enthused about being hit with the franchise tag this offseason. However, if the team can get both star playmakers on good terms moving forward, while working alongside players such as Tyler Boyd, Auden Tate, John Ross, and now Burrow, the sky could be the limit for the Bengals offense.
Has Dalton’s Time in Cini Come to an End?
The Bengals attempted to move on from the Andy Dalton-era a season ago when then first-year head coach Zac Taylor benched Dalton in favor of rookie Ryan Finley coming out of the team’s Week 9 bye. However, Finley proved to be in over his head, struggling mightily at the helm of the Bengals offense. He lasted three games as the team’s starting quarterback, never topping more than 192-passing yards before Taylor ultimately turned the keys back over to Dalton to close out the season.
However, with a legitimate blue-chip prospect such as Burrow in the building, Taylor and company will find it a whole lot easier to move on from the Red Rifle, likely looking to ship Dalton out of town as soon as possible.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Jacksonville Jaguars have shown interest in acquiring Dalton. Whether in a potential trade or if Dalton were to eventually be released.
Dalton has a past connection with Jags offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, who served in the same role for three seasons in Cincinnati working alongside Dalton.