Jermaine Burton's versatile style could add much-needed spark to Bengals offense

2023 SEC Championship - Georgia v Alabama
2023 SEC Championship - Georgia v Alabama / Todd Kirkland/GettyImages

From the tide to the jungle, the Cincinnati Bengals selected Alabama product Jermaine Burton with the 80th pick in the 3rd round of the NFL Draft. Burton was one of the most prominent wide receivers in the SEC last season, and the Bengals needed some much-needed juice with all the Tee Higgins rumors. Well, that is exactly what they got Friday night in Detroit.

During Burton's collegiate career, he played for two of the most sought-out universities in the country. He spent his first two years at Georgia and his last two at Alabama, where he had his most success. Burton has smooth footwork, unique speed running a 4.45 40-yard dash, and the ability to play all over the field, which could make him a serious threat in Dan Pitcher's offense. 

Impressive college numbers

At Alabama, Burton played over 50 slot snaps and 230 wide snaps at the receiver position during his senior season. In 2023, he racked up a 79.7 PFF grade and averaged 20.5 yards per reception, which led the SEC. He isn't a "boom or bust" player off the line of scrimmage, but he is a crisp route runner with long strides and sneaky speed, which fits right in with the Cincinnati style of play alongside Ja'Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, and the rest of the Bengals wide receiver room. 

Last season, Burton hauled in 39 receptions, eight touchdowns, which ranked 4th in the SEC, and 798 receiving yards. But most of all, Burton is a proven winner. In 2021 with the Georgia Bulldogs, Burton won a national championship and also played in the college football playoffs this past season with the Crimson Tide. 

Between Jermaine Burton, Trenton Irwin, Andrei Iosivas, and Charlie Jones, the fight for snaps will be one of the most interesting developments that will occur during the Bengals training camp and preseason. They all will have their fair share of opportunities, and there is a lot of talent amongst this group competing for the 3rd and 4th receivers on the depth chart behind Chase and Higgins. Now we'll get to see if the rookie can come in and make an impact on a team with Super Bowl aspirations.