Bengals fans are ready to move on from Andy Dalton and the signs point to the team themselves ready to move on as well. Timing is the toughest obstacle to overcome in any potential relationship, but the Bengals got very lucky in this regard.
The emergence of Joe Burrow happening at the same time as Dalton’s decline makes an already easy choice in the NFL an absolute no-brainer. If you’re still not convinced, let’s take a look at five reasons the Bengals should take Burrow with the first-overall pick.
1. One of the best college seasons ever
The whole reason why Burrow has been in the spotlight the last several weeks is because we’ve never seen a college quarterback season quite like his. When it culminated in a National Championship victory, it just became the cherry on top of the sundae. His 60 touchdowns, 5,671 yards and 76.3 completion percentage didn’t come against the MAC; he was doing it against defensive juggernauts such as Auburn, Georgia, Alabama, and Clemson.
Joe Burrow faced 4 teams that finished with top-10 ranked defense for @PFF. His stats vs. them— Mike Renner (@PFF_Mike) February 6, 2020
381.5 yards per game
A murderers row of defense—and he made every single one of them look silly. Such utter dominance can’t be chalked up to just surrounding cast or scheme as he was consistently fantastic all year long.
2. The Bengals need an elite quarterback
With their unwillingness to spend in free agency and their conservatism towards the trade market, the Bengals are limited in how quickly they can build a contending roster and rebound from mistakes they make. The Bengals’ best hope to overcome these self-imposed handicaps is to have a quarterback that can shoulder the weight of an imperfect team. The opportunity to get one is rare, but it’s staring them in the face this year.
The combination of Burrow and Joe Brady took a stagnant LSU team to an entirely new level, but Burrow showed enough on his own to prove he can do the same without Brady in the NFL.
3. Championship mentality
The intangibles that makeup a winner’s mentality are things frequently by NFL teams and the people that cover them, but it’s difficult to truly identify if some players possess them. With Burrow, this isn’t the case. He is coming off an undefeated National Championship season and while the NFL equivalent is unlikely to happen, Burrow will bring a desire to win it all to Cincinnati. That kind of fire could inspire the entire team to play better, and it’s something you can easily find in a non-quarterback.
4. Maximize talented weapons
The Bengals have ample talent at their offensive skill positions. They need to capitalize on those players and getting more consistent success in the passing game will do just that. Imagine if John Ross III had some deep balls actually hit him in stride and how many open running lanes Joe Mixon would have if the passing game was a consistent threat. The offense being on the field longer and scoring more would also improve the defensive performance. Burrow is the key that unlocks all of these doors.
5. Give the young coach a new QB
It is still unclear if Zac Taylor will be the guy long-term for Cincinnati, but this situation is the perfect opportunity to find out. If Taylor doesn’t find success with a quarterback he chose at the top of his second draft, especially one who just won the Heisman Trophy and had the aforementioned historically great season. then it may be time to look elsewhere.
Burrow gives Taylor a truly fresh start to his tenure in Cincinnati and an opportunity to see develop his own quarterback. Getting Burrow may be exactly what Taylor needs to really strut his stuff and if it’s clearly not working, the Bengals need to quickly move on and bring in someone to help Burrow grow.