All sane people who don’t speak in sensationalism already know that Joe Burrow is going to to the Cincinnati Bengals next Thursday. We also know he had the best season in college football history and has all the tools to be a great NFL quarterback.
But it gets even better.
Burrow is an ideal fit on the Bengals for a number of reasons:
- Intangibles: He has the leadership skills, competitive edge, and work ethic to make the most of any situation and continue to improve each year. The Bengals have a young head coach who has yet to experience much success and an unfortunate past. Having a natural leader will keep the team from doubting itself, especially in big games, a weakness for Cincinnati over the years.
- He’s from Ohio: For just about any other team, it wouldn’t be nearly as important that a top talent plays in his home state. But Carson Palmer showed that not all players have the mental toughness and dedication required to overcome the challenges of playing for a franchise that faces more than its share of adversity. Not only does Burrow have the disposition necessary for this challenge (see #1), but he actually has a desire to specifically play in Ohio.
- Amazing footwork: He is able to dodge rushers, reset his feet, and throw with impeccable accuracy. This is one of the best traits to have in today’s NFL, where teams are expected to throw to be successful and defenses emphasize pressuring the QB more than ever. The Bengals, meanwhile, have struggled to build their offensive line in recent years due to poor scouting and, um, financial decisions. Burrow has the “fancy feet” to overcome such limitations.
- Creativity: The name “Tony Romo” has been thrown around (by our very own John Sheeran, for instance) when looking for a comparison for Burrow. And that’s a very good thing. Like Romo, Burrow can play responsible backyard football. He can take a broken or unsuccessful play, buy himself some time, and then lead his receivers with his passes for big gains. This, obviously, requires not only arm talent (which Burrow is not short on) but also a great knowledge of the game, as we know Romo has by watching him as an analyst. If Burrow can translate his playmaking ability to the next level, that will mean Zac Taylor won’t have to be one of the top play-callers in the league for the Bengals to field a potent offense, similar to how Romo, Aaron Rodgers, and Russell Wilson have elevated their offenses far beyond the systems in which they play.
It really is a great year for the Bengals to have the first overall pick. Probably the best since 2012, when Andrew Luck was coming out. So let’s enjoy this. Now, on April 23rd, and for a long time after.