After losing one of the most exciting games of the year last weekend in Miami, the Bengals assured themselves of the first overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
The immediate consensus pick is LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, the 2019 Heisman Trophy winner who is looking to lead his Tigers to a National Championship. Five months from now, Burrow could go from being a Tiger to being a Bengal, if that is the course Cincinnati chooses.
I don’t really agree with that pick however. I believe Andy Dalton isn’t as bad a QB as he’s made out to be, and honestly, the Bengals are a mess. Drafting Burrow isn’t going to change the outlook of the franchise anytime soon. I’m not saying Burrow will bust in the NFL or that he’s not worth the first overall pick, it’s more about the Bengals having too many needs as a franchise.
For starters, they played this whole season without their number one wide out, AJ Green. The injury allowed for the emergence of receiver Tyler Boyd, who already has a career high in catches with 85 and he’s 13 yards away from back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons. John Ross in just seven games played, has already set career highs in catches and yards. And despite a terrible first two months with an offense in flux and without Andy Dalton under center, Joe Mixon is approaching a 1,000 yard rushing season.
Through all of this however, Dalton is having his worst NFL season as a pro. A passer rating of 78.5 is his lowest in nine seasons playing, as are his 15 touchdown passes in 12 games played.
All signs point to a QB change for the Bengals, but I don’t really agree with it. He’s due $17.5 million next season, and is an unrestricted free agent in 2021.
Now there’s a chance Dalton stays for one season while Burrow is groomed for 2021, but with the mess that Cincy is, I believe their best option is trade back and acquire a boat load of draft picks to build up their franchise.
I grew up collecting sports cards, and I’ll always remember those boxes that guaranteed one autograph card per box. Usually that box held between 24 and 36 packs. That means, one of those 24 packs for instance, held an autograph, guaranteed by the company. Now here’s the thing, do you buy one pack and hope you hit the jackpot? Or do you buy five or six packs, giving yourself a better shot at the autograph?
It’s hit or miss either way, I get it, but if I’m buying, I’m taking those five to six packs at the right price rather than one pack where I have a 1:24 shot at getting autograph.
I believe the same applies for the Bengals and Dalton. Rebuild the offense around him, add him muscle on the offensive line, another WR threat, and build up the defense through the draft and free agency and see what happens from there.
That makes more sense to me than just using the first overall pick on a quarterback. The Bengals have way too many needs to not make some moves to retool the whole franchise.