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Bengals’ draft class will have the most immediate impact, per ESPN

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The 2-14 Bengals are looking like the NFL’s most improved team.

NFL: Combine Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals won’t enter the 2020 season as the favorite in the AFC North, but they’ll certainly enter with a more competitive roster than a season ago. That said, their successful free agency period was capped off by the draft, culminating into one of the team’s best offseasons in almost a decade.

In the draft, the Bengals’ top-three picks are all projected to immediately come in and make an impact. No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow, after Andy Dalton was released, is the easy favorite to be the team’s starting quarterback in Week 1.

It’s not just Burrow’s presence that will improve this roster. Tee Higgins will provide A.J. Green insurance and a sure-handed third-string receiver. Then, Logan Wilson will be a versatile player in the middle of the field as well.

Even late-round picks should come in and bring crucial relief to some of Cincinnati’s aging veterans. At-large, this draft was wildly successful for the Bengals and, at least by a few ESPN analysts, is projected to have the most immediate impact on an NFL roster.

Dan Graziano and Field Yates were the two that talked up the Bengals’ newest additions in a recent poll.

“Joe Burrow could be the only rookie quarterback to start in Week 1. Tee Higgins could be a valuable contributor, given all of the question marks in the Cincinnati wide receiver group. (Is A.J. Green going to be there? Is John Ross going to be healthy?) The linebackers they took in the third and fourth rounds could matter this year. And does 2019 first-rounder Jonah Williams, who missed all of last season with a shoulder injury, count as a rookie?” Dan Graziano wrote.

Field Yates also got in on the conversation, mentioning the Bengals’ top-three picks in the draft.

“The selection of quarterback Joe Burrow certainly accounts for most of this, but it should come as no surprise if their top three selections — wide receiver Tee Higgins and linebacker Logan Wilson included — make substantial contributions right away. I really like their class,” Yates said.

The Bengals may not make the playoffs, but they certainly won’t be the league’s worst team in 2020.