We have now seen a game and a half of this Cincinnati Bengals squad without Joe Burrow, and it's safe to say that this squad is not competing for anything until next year. Many of you might've come to this realization already in a moment of despair, as the all-too-familiar disappointments of the Bengals of Yore washed over you, but I'm here to tell you (yes, you!) that it's not the end of the world. Or, perhaps less dramatically, the Bengals' title hopes for the future.
Yes, it is definitely tough that we (most likely) won't see this team make any deep playoff runs this year like they had done the last couple of seasons. Yes, seeing Burrow suffer his second season-ending injury in his short career is at least a little concerning, however, don't freak out and claim all is lost yet. Well, you can for this season if you want, but don't chuck the future out of the window at least.
Sit back, take deep breaths, and allow me to explain why a lost season doesn't spell the end of the world for the stripes.
3. Good draft capital
One sentiment I've seen passed around the last couple of weeks by Bengals fans on social media is that the last time they had a season like this, they got Ja'Marr Chase out of it, and that is important to remember moving forward.
Losing is not fun, I get that, but it comes with its upsides, and the main one is the high draft pick that comes with it. With the team in 'win now' mode paired with a class full of interesting prospects, this may just be the front office's most important draft yet, and the goal should be to get guys who can make an immediate impact.
There is the small issue of the fact that Cincy has already won five games which might put them out of the running for guys like Marvin Harrison Jr. or Joe Alt (two names myself and many others would love to see in black and orange), but with five wins they might still end up in the top 10 around the sixth or seventh pick.
The Bengals do have one of the toughest remaining schedules in the league, in fact, as it stands right now they aren't facing a team under .500 the rest of the year, so it's certainly not out of the realm of possibility that they could lose out.
So the question then becomes: who do they take? There are a lot of interesting names that could and likely will fall to whatever pick they have (barring some miracle, Tom Brady-esque run by Jake Browning/AJ McCarron).
If Tee Higgins isn't returning, they could get Keon Coleman out of Florida State or Washington prospect Rome Odunze. Highly touted tight end Brock Bowers falling to them would be a dream come true. I've seen Jer'Zhan Newton out of Illinois be brought up a few times with the hopes he would help improve the interior pass rush.
The point is, this is a great draft to have a good pick. It isn't dominated by quarterbacks and a lot of the top prospects are guys that the Bengals could really use.