LSU quarterback Joe Burrow finished his collegiate career with another brilliant performance in a blowout win over the Clemson Tigers in Monday night’s National Championship Game.
Burrow tallied 521 total yards and six touchdowns, throwing dime after dime in the process. He’s seen as a generational quarterback and the consensus No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
It’s now time for the highly regarded signal-caller to turn his attention to the pre-draft process and the annual event in Las Vegas this coming April.
It’s also time for the downtrodden Cincinnati Bengals to pretty much close up shop on their big board for the No. 1 overall pick. Select Burrow .
The short of it: Cincinnati has been in quarterback purgatory since Carson Palmer sustained an elbow injury in 2008 and never really returned to form. Sorry, Andy Dalton was the definition of quarterback purgatory during his career.
There’s a lot of high-level prospects heading into the 2020 NFL Draft. None of them will make the same franchise-altering impact as Mr. Burrow. And that’s the biggest key.
Don’t make the mistake: There has to be some draw to selecting Ohio State defensive end Chase Young No. 1 overall. We’re here to say that makes absolutely no sense.
- Some experts believe Young will be a better pro than former OSU teammates Nick Bosa. While that’s debatable, we know he won’t have the same impact as a quartrback.
- The draw here would be to go with a player who dominated in Ohio over the past couple seasons. A way to cater to Bengals fans.
- What? A PR clinic when fans in Cincinnati have not seen this team win a playoff game since George H.W. Bush was manning the White House and Bengals head coach Zac Taylor a mere seven years old. Come on, now.
The Zac Taylor dynamic: Cincinnati hired an offensive-minded head coach who worked wonders with Jared Goff in Los Angeles. The fit is perfect.
- It’s all about not overthinking this. Taylor was brought on to bring the Bengals into the modern era. That’s an offensive-minded coach with an ability to get the most out of a quarterback.
- Taylor’s ability to be a head coach is still in question after a two-win 2019 campaign. Prior to 2019, the 36-year-old had never been even a full-time coordinator at the NFL level.
- In order for Cincinnati’s brass to make this work, Taylor needs to get that one quarterback under center to help him out. It would be akin to Jimmy Garoppolo and Kyle Shanahan in San Francisco and the Patrick Mahomes-Andy Reid relationship in Kansas City.
We’re not talking about your average quarterback: What Burrow did this past season for the Tigers is historical and unprecedented.
- We still can’t get over how dominant Burrow was against elite-level competition. Here’s a dude that accounted for 13 touchdowns in two playoff games.
- Burrow ended the 2019 campaign with an NCAA record 60 touchdown passes and 65 total touchdowns from the quarterback position.
- Some might conclude that he doesn’t have the strongest arm. That’s a false narrative. He can make every throw on the football field. He has pinpoint accuracy. Again, don’t overthink it, Bengals.
Finding the light at the end of the tunnel: Could Burrow finally be the quarterback to lead this Bengals team out of the doldrums?
- Recent history suggests that this will be the case. We saw it with young quarterback Josh Allen and the Bills this season. Lamar Jackson changed the entire dynamic of the Baltimore Ravens’ supposed rebuild process after the team moved on from Joe Flacco.
- One quarterback. A player at the most-important position in the NFL. That player can change the fortunes of an organization. Consider this. Garoppolo is now 20-5 as the 49ers’ starter since joining the team in 2017. Every other 49ers quarterback is 4-20 during that span.
- We’re not yet ready to compare Burrow to these proven QBs. But he offers the upside that could lead to a dramatic turnaround for the Bengals.
Cincinnati’s history in the NFL Draft raises some alarm. Can the team move past its recent struggles in this regard? After all, these struggles have been something to behold.
Cincinnati’s six most-recent first-round picks started a combined 24 games for the team this past season. That’s just disastrous stuff, and it leads us to our final point.
Normally, someone with Burrow’s skills would be a lock to go No. 1. That’s until we realize we’re talking about one of the worst-run organizations in football over the past several decades.
Cincinnati can’t afford to mess this up. It earned the No. 1 pick by putting up one of the worst seasons in franchise history, going 2-14.
Anything less than going with the LSU standout would be seen as a failure of epic proportions and lead the team’s fan base right back into hiding with paper bags over their heads.