Unlike most quarterbacks that are taken at No. 1 overall, Joe Burrow will be coming to an offense that is far from devoid of weapons.
The Cincinnati Bengals can already surround the top pick in the draft with A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd and John Ross III at receiver, a pair of talented running backs in Joe Mixon and Giovanni Bernard and that’s before they finish the rest of the 2020 NFL Draft.
Cincinnati finished the 2019 season with one of the worst offenses in the NFL, averaging 323.1 yards per game (26th in the league) and 17.4 points per game (30th).
But most of that was due to abysmal quarterback play. Andy Dalton had his worst season as a pro, with a career-low 78.3 passer rating and a 59.5 completion percentage that was his worst since he was a rookie.
When he was benched in favor of rookie Ryan Finley, things got even worse, as Finley completed just 47.1% of his passes and had a 62.1 quarterback rating — both among the worst for quarterbacks that started games in 2020.
So Burrow will be coming into an offense that’s mostly missing a quarterback, and he seems to have the leadership ability to make the most of that opportunity.
“He gets the most out of those guys around him and he’s got the respect of his coaches and teammates that he’s played with, everywhere” Bengals head coach Zac Taylor said on Thursday. “You talk to people at Ohio State, you talk to people at LSU, they love the guy.”
The Bengals have spent four straight years near the bottom of the division, finishing below .500 every season since 2015 while going a combined 21-42-1 in that time frame. But with Burrow in the fold, the Bengals could be poised to make a leap back into contention very quickly.