When news broke that Joe Burrow was out for the season, thoughts immediately turned to who would step in. For now, the job will go to backup Jake Browning. Having gone undrafted but then signing with Minnesota in 2019, Browing spent two years with the Vikings before coming to Cincy in 2021.
The big question for the Bengals is: Does a player with so little experience have any hope of keeping the Bengals' slim playoff hopes alive? The likely answer is no, but don't expect the Bengals to throw in the towel just yet. That's not Zac Taylor's style, and rightly so.
The fact that Bengals' fans have written off the year says a lot about their assessment of the backup QB situation. Another significant injury for Burrow is surely a sign that the Bengals, with a loaded roster, should have a better option behind the leading man. Think Jacoby Brissett or Gardner Minshew, experienced campaigners who can step in and win games.
It will undoubtedly be something Duke Tobin must consider going into the offseason in 2024. The Bengals may seek out some experience to ride the bench, but it may be worth adding a talented QB that can develop into that role. Here are some candidates who may be available in the 2024 draft and could be long-term Burrow backups.
All stats provided by PFF.com.
Michael Pratt (Tulane)
Tulane is once again enjoying a stellar season in the American Athletic Conference. After going 12-2 last year, they have only lost one game in 2023. A major part of that is QB Michael Pratt. After missing time early in the year, Pratt returned and it was business as usual.
He has thrown for 1,790 yards, 16 touchdowns and only four interceptions. While Pratt is considered somewhat of a game manager, his ability as a runner allows him to keep drives alive regularly. Pratt has 286 yards on the ground along with four touchdowns.
That kind of dual-threat ability is appealing when drafting a young QB. Everything speeds up at the next level and being able to bail yourself out of trouble with your legs is an effective answer. Pratt has plenty of college experience and a winning mentality.