There hasn’t been many positive surrounding Zac Taylor’s first season in Cincinnati, but one may be that the Bengals are in position to ‘earn’ the 2020 NFL Draft’s No. 1 pick. They’re the clear frontrunners as the league’s only one-win team. Football Outsiders’ model simulates the Bengals have a 59% chance at locking in the top pick.
After the Giants lost in very New York fashion (an overtime touchdown by Philadelphia) they remained with just two wins. The Giants are the league’s only two-win team even though they’re playing in the league-worst NFC East.
For Cincinnati, there’s not much hope on the horizon either. They will take on a Patriots team that will be rolling into Paul Brown Stadium hungry for a win after dropping their last two.
The Bengals will then get Miami and Cleveland, two extremely winnable games. At that point, if it’s between the Bengals and the Giants for the top spot, there’s really no reason to win those two final outings, but Zac Taylor’s group won’t have the same opinion.
That said, the Bengals, as aforementioned, are in the driver’s seat for the top pick. If the season ended today, the Giants will secure No. 2, the Redskins No. 3, the Dolphins No. 4 and then the Lions at No. 5.
It’s assumed that if gifted with the No. 1 overall pick come April, the Bengals will selected the recently announced Heisman finalist Joe Burrow. The LSU quarterback is by far the NCAA’s most dynamic offensive player.
If the Bengals, for some reason, believed in Andy Dalton and or Ryan Finley, defensive end Chase Young would be the move.
But if the Bengals manage to beat the Dolphins in Week 16 and then what will likely be a Browns team eliminated from playoff contention and have nothing to play for in Week 17, then the Bengals could drop down to the No. 4 pick if the Giants win just one more game while the Dolphins and Redskins lose out.
So yeah, while the Bengals are in good position to earn the top pick, don’t assume they even have one of the top two picks. After all, the Bengals had two seasons (2008 & 2010) where they won several games in December to knock themselves out of a top-three pick.