Bengals: Quarterback depth chart after the 2021 NFL Draft

Leigh Oleszczak
LANDOVER, MARYLAND - NOVEMBER 22: (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
LANDOVER, MARYLAND - NOVEMBER 22: (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) /

The Bengals‘ quarterback situation didn’t change after the 2021 NFL Draft and that’s a good thing. They didn’t spend a draft pick on a quarterback but did add one in undrafted free agency.

The Cincinnati Bengals are fortunate to have a pretty cut and dry situation at quarterback. They’re hoping that Joe Burrow is able to start the season as the QB1 after getting injured midway through his rookie season and that Brandon Allen can be the backup and not the starter.

There won’t be any competition for the starter and backup spot unless Burrow isn’t cleared to play. The other two quarterbacks on the roster, Kyle Shurmur and Collin Hill, will battle it out for the QB3 role (and hopefully not the backup spot).

The Bengals are looking at a decent situation at quarterback.

Here’s the quarterback depth chart for Cincinnati this year:

  1. Joe Burrow
  2. Brandon Allen
  3. Kyle Shurmur/Collin Hill

Burrow is the obvious choice to start for many reasons. The biggest being that he was the No. 1 overall pick this time a year ago and he was on his way to an impressive rookie campaign before he was injured. He threw for 2,688 yards, 13 touchdowns, and five interceptions through 10 games while rushing for another 147 yards and three touchdowns on the ground.

Burrow might have gone 2-7-1 as a starter but quarterback wins and losses aren’t a real meaningful stat. The talent around Burrow last year wasn’t great and it showed. Now, with a year of the offense under his belt and some really good players joining the team through the draft and free agency, it’s time to see what kind of climb Burrow can make for the Bengals.

Allen played in five games last year as the Bengals’ backup quarterback and was fine. He threw for 925 yards, five touchdowns, and four interceptions. If you took out his final game of the year against Baltimore, Allen was a very good backup, especially against the Texans where he threw for 371 yards and two touchdowns in the 37-31 win (Allen’s only win as a starter).

Bengals fans should feel pretty good with Allen as the backup but obviously, Burrow’s the guy everyone wants to see taking the snaps. These two will be the No. 1 and 2 options and Shurmur and Hill will fight for the third-string role.

Shurmur signed with the Chiefs as a UDFA in 2019 and signed with the Bengals in 2020. He was a practice squad player last year and hopes to get back there for the 2021 season. The former Vanderbilt quarterback threw for 8,865 yards, 64 touchdowns, and 29 interceptions during his four years with the Commodores.

Hill was signed as a UDFA this year and played for the South Carolina Gamecocks. His numbers weren’t great (1,411 yards, six touchdowns, six interceptions through eight games) but Zac Taylor obviously saw something in him. He’ll be Shurmur’s competition for the QB3 spot and it’ll be the battle of the UDFA quarterbacks.

The Bengals are in a good spot when it comes to the quarterback position. Joe Burrow is set to return from his injury and the hope is that he progresses greatly during his sophomore season. Brandon Allen is a serviceable backup who can step in and keep the Bengals competitive. Shurmur and Hill hopefully won’t see the field as a starter in a meaningful game but they’re the only competition on the quarterback roster this summer.

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After some up and down years at quarterback, the Bengals are in a good spot and that’s highly important when it comes to the most important position in the game.