The Bengals had a tough choice between LSU’s Joe Burrow and Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa. That decision was made easier when Cincinnati was given the out of Tagovailoa suffering an injury during the college season.
It is still safe to say that these two quarterbacks will constantly be compared throughout their careers. Burrow went first overall and Tagovailoa fell to the fifth pick of the first round.
With that said, Burrow has looked like the more NFL ready player up to this point, and that idea was strengthened on Friday. First, Bengals fans watched as Burrow dominated the team’s scrimmage by completing his first eight passes, overcoming multiple false starts, and tossing three touchdowns without A.J. Green, John Ross or Tee Higgins.
This is as good as you can get for this point in training camp, and especially since we won’t have any preseason games this year. Burrow has just looked like the quarterback he was advertised to be. He is getting the best out of everyone on offense.
Meanwhile in Miami, the Dolphins have been giving Ryan Fitzpatrick most of the first team snaps and plan on starting the veteran at the beginning of the season. On Friday, Fitzpatrick was given an undisclosed personal day, which allowed Tagovailoa to display where his game was currently at. Spoiler alert: it didn’t go so well, according to Hal Habib of Palm Beach Post.
Tagovailoa appeared to be overly hyped for the occasion, consistently overshooting receivers. When he was able to make connections, often it was because receivers such as Chester Rogers and Preston Williams were using all of their 6-foot-plus frames to make adjustments and haul in passes. He also tended to lead receivers out of bounds rather than give them space to walk the tightrope.
To say he needed to settle down would be an understatement. Red flag? Tagovailoa is, after all, coming from Alabama. The SEC. Has been under pressure for years. That’s all true, but this is the NFL and this is a huge step from college to the pros. If Dan Marino couldn’t get thrown into this kind of cauldron and emerge with a starting job — and no, he did not open the 1983 season as QB1 — it’s unrealistic to expect Tagovailoa to beat out 16-year veteran Fitzpatrick. Especially not on the strength of a truncated training camp.
Obviously, it is too soon to declare anything about either player after a few weeks of practice. It is still a nice start for Burrow, and it certainly feels better to have your franchise savior performing so well already and not struggling to beat out a well-traveled veteran quarterback.
Tagovailoa isn’t the only rookie quarterback not expected to start the season, though. It is already been said that the Chargers will be starting Tyrod Taylor over Justin Herbert, who went one pick after Tagovailoa. This is more to show that Burrow seems to just be that far ahead of the curve in such a strange offseason. Also maybe the Bengals were right to not trade the pick, Just maybe.