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Cincy Jungle interviews: PFF’s Austin Gayle talks Joe Burrow, Bengals’ offseason strategy & more

What numbers and traits make Joe Burrow special? How should we perceive the value of individual offensive linemen and linebackers? In an exclusive sit down interview, we pick the brain of PFF’s Associate Director of Content Austin Gayle.

It cannot be understated how important this offseason is for the Cincinnati Bengals. Sure, they have a layup in regards to addressing their first-round pick, but the need for immediate impact players coming from both free agency and the NFL Draft is immense.

A shift in the approach to building their team has been needed for a long time. As it happens, a little-known company that specializes in football analytics and strategy operates less than a mile away from Paul Brown Stadium.

Pro Football Focus has been around for over a decade now, and they’re more than just the nerds who attach number grades to players. The value in PFF, to me at least, has always been the prioritization of context in football analysis; never mind the process of watching every snap of every football game from college to the pros. They say numbers don’t lie, but if they don’t mean anything in terms of predictive value, or if the context is simply not explained, what do they really tell us?

Finding new ways to build better football teams and, therefore, win more games, is the goal in every signature stat and grade PFF produces. It’s something that Associate Director of Content Austin Gayle explained to me in our sit down interview this week at PFF HQ just west of Washington Park in Over-the-Rhine.

In our 30 minute conversation, Gayle expanded on several topics, including:

  • The things that objectively make Joe Burrow PFF’s best quarterback prospect and why he’s a good fit in Zac Taylor’s offense.
  • PFF’s Wins Above Replacement metric and how it shows us which position groups are most valuable.
  • Why free agency is the avenue for immediate improvement on the offensive line and why best player available is always a solid strategy.
  • How cornerback is a bigger need for the Bengals than linebacker is for reasons you may not think.
  • The three keys to a success Bengals offseason.

As always, keep it locked into the Orange and Black Insider Bengals Podcast for more interviews like this one.