Winning just two games in the 2019 season might be the best thing that ever happened to the Cincinnati Bengals because it got them the rights to draft Joe Burrow with the first overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Burrow’s rookie season was overshadowed by the crazy season that Justin Herbert had and it didn’t help that Burrow missed the final six games due to injury. When he returned in 2021, it took a bit for him to get back in the swing of things and for a few weeks, he led the league in interceptions.
Then, things changed, and Burrow turned into that same guy Bengals fans watched with excitement during his senior season at LSU when they knew he’d be coming to Cincinnati.
Cody Benjamin of CBS Sports did a deep dive into each and every first-round quarterback selected over the past decade and he already has Burrow listed as a “home run”. His definition for “home run” was: “A bona fide star with championship-caliber talent, production and potential”
Benjamin offered this analysis on Burrow (and Herbert):
"Burrow and Herbert are already in the top 10 at their position. The former is fresh off an MVP-caliber Super Bowl bid, pairing poise with across-the-board production. The latter has yet to taste the playoffs but possesses one of the game’s best arms, giving L.A. a prototypical pocket passer."
No surprises here — Joe Burrow is a franchise quarterback.
Benjamin has all of the 2021 quarterback draft class as “Incomplete” due to still not knowing much about them but had this list been done a year ago, Herbert would have already been a home-run but Burrow would have received the “Incomplete” grade due to not finishing out the season.
The other home runs listed in this article, aside from Burrow and Herbert, were: Josh Allen (2018), Lamar Jackson (2018), Patrick Mahomes (2017), and Andrew Luck (2012), proving how hard it is to find a “home run” quarterback in the first round of the draft.
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The Cincinnati Bengals know they’re lucky to have Joe Burrow and they need to do whatever they can to keep him around and make him happy.