We won’t know what the Cincinnati Bengals are actually thinking for quite a while, but Joe Burrow’s 493 yards and seven touchdown passes in the Peach Bowl should make their plans for the top draft pick pretty easy. Then what?
This entire article is based on the assumption that the Bengals will indeed take Joe Burrow with the top draft pick. Throwing for 55 touchdowns and just six interceptions means that Burrow has the tools to turn around any struggling NFL franchise, including the Bengals.
However, the truth is, this time last year, Burrow was barely a draftable prospect. In addition to his immense talent, he inherited the perfect situation this year. Everything from supporting cast, to coaching, to scheme fell into place. When that happens, magic occurs.
But the situation in Cincinnati is anything but perfect. The team just finished 2-14 for a reason. The first year coaching staff didn’t have much talent to work with. Still, that doesn’t change the fact that they looked completely outfoxed all year long. It took them until the last month of the season to figure out that Joe Mixon was their best player. Come on now.
As for the roster itself, outside of running back, punter, defensive line, and one, maybe two spots on the offensive line, an argument can be made that every other position needs at least one new face from somewhere this offseason.
Waiting for the Bengals to be active in free agency is like waiting on Santa. That leaves the draft, which Cincinnati has been poor in over the last few years. The last paragraph is why one could make a case to trade the top pick for more picks. I won’t make that case, but it is there to be made.
If Burrow is the pick, the Bengals could do a number of things to speed up his development and help him. Much of that would require the Bengals to make a rare trip out of their comfort zone. Don’t count on it.
The Bengals need a franchise transformation. That often starts with a quarterback. Still, the reality is what the Bengals are right now is pretty much what Burrow is going to get as a rookie.
.Burrow is a great talent and its fun to see the city already excited by the possibility of him coming here. However, everyone needs to take a second to realize the enormity of the task that could be laid at his feet. It will be impossible for him to do what he is doing now at the NFL level, at least right away.