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The Athletic 2020 redraft has 2 Bengals landing in top 10

The Athletic’s Diante Lee pictures Joe Burrow playing for another team if the NFL went back in time to 2020.

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NFL: NFL Draft-City Scenes Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

It’s that time of year when free agency begins to wind down and the draft is still a month or so away when football minds begin grasping at straws to come up with original content. There are only so many mock drafts that can be created before the whole exercise becomes pointless. This is why re-drafts came into being.

What better way to pass the time than talk about what teams would do if they could got a mulligan on a pick from a few years ago. That’s what The Athletic’s Diante Lee did.

Lee re-selected the 2020 NFL Draft, the one that gave the Bengals their franchise quarterback, Joe Burrow, as well as Tee Higgins and linebacker Logan Wilson. It will likely go down in history as one of the most successful draft classes the Bengals have ever had.

In Lee’s re-draft, which was only the first round, two Bengals are in the top 10, but you may be surprised to see Cincinnati, at least according to Lee, selects a different quarterback at the No. 1 overall spot.

That’s right, Lee has the Bengals selecting Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert with the first pick.

“Frankly, there’s no need to mess with a good thing in Cincinnati — Burrow has played in a Super Bowl and consecutive AFC Championship games. But I just can’t help myself. Herbert is themore talented quarterback, and it’s hard to imagine that his time with a supporting cast like Burrow has had in Cincinnati would be disappointing,” he wrote.

Obviously, the idea of the Bengals not re-drafting Burrow with the first pick in 2020 is ridiculous. If a wizard walked into the front offices of Paycor Stadium and gave Duke Tobin and company the power to make changes to who they would select in the draft three years ago, I can guarantee you, they would still select Burrow.

Herbert has more yards and touchdowns than Burrow, but that’s because Burrow was injured for half of his rookie season. Burrow has a higher passer rating (100.4 to 96.2, respectively) and less interceptions. The biggest trackable stat, though, is winning. Burrow is 24-17-1 in his career as a starter, while Herbert is 25-24. Burrow is 5-2 in the playoffs while Herbert is 0-1.

In The Athletic’s re-draft, Burrow went No. 2 overall to the Washington Commanders instead of edge defender Chase Young.

One of the biggest jumps of this re-draft, however, is Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins, who was taken with the No. 33 overall pick. In this reimagining, he was selected at No. 9 overall by the Jacksonville Jaguars, the second wide receiver off the board after Justin Jefferson.

“Instead of taking a swing on a premium defensive position, let’s get the best player available,” Lee wrote. “Higgins has proven to be a No. 1 receiver in his own right. He’s able to find separation downfield, win at the highest point and maintain enough strength with the ball in his hands to create offense through contract.”

It’s fortunate that things fell the way they did. Burrow is where he belongs, as is Higgins. Both are eligible to be extended this offseason, and while the news hasn’t broken that the team has reached an agreement with either party, most believe the deal will get done, at least with Burrow, but hopefully with both.

Some other notable changes in this re-draft are:

  • Chase Young - Chargers, No. 6 overall
  • CeeDee Lamb - Browns, No. 10 overall
  • Jalen Hurts - 49ers, No. 14 overall
  • Chase Claypool - Packers, No. 26 overall
  • Michael Pittman Jr. - Ravens, No. 28 overall
  • Cole Kmet - Chiefs, No. 32 overall


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