With the summer in full swing and NFL training camps less than two months away now, we gathered our Cincy Jungle staff to rank the top 25 Bengals of the 2020 season.
This ranking is simply who we believe are the 25 best Bengals heading into next season. It includes veterans and rookies alike, though it obviously is more favorable of players who’ve actually played snaps in the NFL, so don’t expect guys like Joe Burrow to be a top-five player right off the bat.
For a recap of the list, check out our stream here.
There are two players to make this list who have never played a snap in the NFL. The first is Jonah Williams, who came in at 13. He was the Bengals’ first round pick in 2019.
The second was the Bengals’ first pick in the 2019 draft. If his rookie season is anything like his senior year of college, then he should be an easy pick for number one next year.
With all the success he had in college, it is no wonder why he is the only rookie on the list.
No. 8: Joe Burrow, quarterback
There was no doubt that Joe Burrow should have been the first-overall pick for the Bengals.
Heisman trophy? He won it. National Championship? He won that too. Single season passing touchdown record? That record belongs to Burrow.
In 2019, Burrow won nearly every award possible and his name is near (or at) the top of most all-time single season passing records.
What’s more amazing than his accomplishments is the modest way his career got started.
Only a three-star recruit, Burrow enrolled at Ohio State in 2015, redshirting his first year. He spent 2016 as the backup to J.T. Barrett’s, but a broken hand in 2017 bumped him down to third-string behind Barrett and incoming freshman Dwayne Haskins. In 2018, Haskins succeeded Barrett as the starter, and the 21-year old Burrow took his talents to Baton Rouge by transferring to LSU.
Burrow had a solid first season for the Bayou Bengals, despite just joining the team in the Summer. He completed 57.8 percent of his passes for 2,894 yards, 16 touchdowns, and five interceptions. Not bad, but nowhere near what would come the next season.
In his monster senior year, Burrow completed 76.3 percent of his passes for 5,671 yards, both of which led the country. He also set single season records for quarterback rating (202) and passing touchdowns (60).
After one of the best seasons by any player in college football history, the Bengals mercifully ended mass media speculation and made Burrow the first-overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Soon afterwards, Cincinnati released Andy Dalton, making it clear that Burrow will be their starting quarterback right out of the gate; much like Dalton was when he was a rookie.
Around Burrow, the Bengals tagged A.J. Green (and are still trying to agree on a long-term deal), drafted Tee Higgins, and started extension talks with Joe Mixon. The Bengals are trying to give him the help he needs to succeed.
If there is one thing that Burrow proved in his last season, it’s that he is a winner. By drafting him, the Bengals showed that they are committed to winning. Their desired success probably doesn’t happen in 2020, as the Bengals had the first pick in the draft for a reason. But investing in Burrow is an investment in the long-term.
This next season, we will find out if Burrow is enough to get the Bengals back in the win column more often than they’ve been in recent years.
Is No. 8 too low for No. 9? Thanks to COVID-19, he technically hasn’t even set foot in an NFL facility yet. The closest he’s come is the scouting combine, in which he didn’t throw.
With that in mind, No. 8 is actually kind of impressive.