Without question, drafting a player like Joe Burrow makes the Cincinnati Bengals better. But does it help them win the AFC North? He’s a start, but they also need to draft to stop a potential MVP quarterback, Lamar Jackson.
The Cincinnati Bengals look to be tracking towards drafting LSU standout and Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow. Burrow may be a generational talent and the quarterback that turns around a franchise that has struggled in recent seasons. However, with holes up and down the Bengals roster, especially on defense, Burrow will need to do the heavy lifting unless the organization plans to draft smart, especially within the division.
The AFC North looked to be a powerhouse in 2019. While the media was all in on the Cleveland Browns, it was the Baltimore Ravens who stole the show. With MVP candidate Lamar Jackson at quarterback, the Ravens locked up the top seed in the AFC and looked to be on a relatively smooth glide path to the conference championship and possibly even the Super Bowl.
Jackson, who was having a monster season, stalled in the playoffs. Baltimore would lose to the Tennessee Titans in a shocker 28-12, leaving some to wonder about the Ravens and their quarterback.
Odds are high that after the Super Bowl, both Kansas City and the Ravens will be overwhelming favorites for a shot at the Lombardi Trophy next season.
For the AFC North, look for teams to use the draft to not just make selections that make their teams obviously better, but also to win the division. For the Bengals, after Burrow or whomever quarterback they eventually settle on, drafting on defense to stop perhaps the best quarterback in football should be high on the priority list.
Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Cincinnati are teams looking up at Baltimore. While the Steelers with Ben Roethlisberger are a team who can likely challenge the Ravens, the Bengals will need to also find a way to contain Jackson, who absolutely shredded the Cincinnati defense and created a highlight reel that will be around for a long time.
Fans who are high on Burrow should be. He may be a franchise type of quarterback who raises the entire franchise to not just relevance, but a legitimate contender. But until they have the horses to stop a player like Jackson, they’re playing for at best, second place.