It isn’t very often that we know with near certainty who the #1 pick in the NFL Draft will be, but in this case it is fairly obvious. Joe Burrow is essentially a lock to end up with the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals’ organization and its fans are undoubtedly very excited, but there is still a massive question: Should Joe Burrow also be excited?
There is a massive misconception that Cincinnati is a place where quarterbacks go to die. Although the Bengals haven’t experienced substantial success lately, the quarterbacks over nearly the past two decades have played fairly well. Carson Palmer had a solid career and Andy Dalton quickly became a fan favorite.
Carson Palmer’s Stats: 22,694 yards, 154 touchdowns, a 62.9% completion percentage, and 2 Pro Bowls over 7 seasons.
Andy Dalton’s Stats: 31,594 yards, 204 touchdowns, a 62.0% completion percentage, and 3 Pro Bowls over 9 seasons.
Two quarterbacks over two decades with careers as accomplished as those listed above is nothing to scoff at. When Cincinnati’s quarterback plays well, the team wins. Assuming that Joe Burrow is not a Ryan Leaf or a JaMarcus Russell, he should have at the very least a solid career if he lands with the Bengals.
Beyond the production from Cincinnati’s previous quarterbacks, there are also tremendous offensive weapons already established in the Bengals organization. There are two 1,000 yard receivers in AJ Green and Tyler Boyd, a speedster by the name of John Ross who was having a breakout year before injury, and a 1,000 yard running back in Joe Mixon.
Not to mention that Joe Burrow will also have access to jump-ball expert Auden Tate, dual-threat running back Giovani Bernard, and possibly a dependable (when healthy) tight end in Tyler Eifert. It would almost be more difficult for Joe Burrow to struggle with these players around him.
There are two major issues when looking at Cincinnati, however, one being the subpar offensive line. A rookie quarterback behind a swiss cheese offensive line is a recipe for disaster. Luckily, the line improved throughout last season as players were rotated in and out less often and the scheme changed to accommodate player’s strengths and weaknesses.
With the arrival of Jonah Williams, last year’s first round pick, the line will undoubtedly be boosted as many of the same players will return for next season. The other major issue comes from the lack of success recently.
The Bengals have not been good ever since the 2015 playoff debacle against the Steelers. This lack of success may scare a young player, and rightfully so. Only time will tell if Zac Taylor can turn this team around from the dreadful end to the Marvin Lewis era.
If I was Joe Burrow and I saw the previous production of Cincinnati’s quarterbacks, as well as the very quarterback-friendly coaching staff and the tremendous potential of the offensive weapons, I would be ecstatic to go #1 overall despite the uncertainty of the offensive line and the questionable ability of the coaching staff and front office to build a winning culture.
Not often does a team with the first pick in the NFL Draft have such an established offense, and there aren’t many better situations for a young quarterback in the NFL today.