The Bengals are not going to ruin Joe Burrow after they take him with the No. 1 over pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
There should be no doubt in the organization’s mind about the QB who is coming off arguably the greatest college football team of all time, and his father Jimmy recently confirmed to FOX-19 Cincinnati that Burrow is not trying to talk his way out of being drafted by the Bengals.
That Cincinnati isn’t the right place for Burrow, and that he will never win a Super Bowl there, are a couple more terrible narratives around the 23-year-old passer and the idea of him playing for the Bengals.
Let’s break down the absurdity of all of them.
2020 MOCK DRAFT:
Burrow one of four QBs taken in Round 1
‘The Bengals will ruin the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback’s career.’
Wrong. Cincinnati is not QB hell. That’s up the road in Cleveland, and the Browns might have finally figured it out with Baker Mayfield. Maybe.
What quarterback did Cincinnati ruin in the last 40 years?
It can’t be Ken Anderson, who started in a Super Bowl and led the NFL in passing yards twice.
It’s not Boomer Esiason, who also started in a Super Bowl and won the NFL MVP award in 1988.
It’s not Andy Dalton, a second-round pick in 2011 who has two more regular-season wins as a starter than Cam Newton, who was the No. 1 pick in the same draft. Dalton has overachieved given the expectations.
Even Jeff Blake and Jon Kitna carved out decent careers with the Bengals.
So, where does this narrative come from?
It’s rooted in Carson Palmer’s career arc. The Bengals took Palmer with the No. 1 pick in the 2003 NFL Draft, and everybody remembers the end. Palmer requested to be traded after the 2010 season, Bengals owner Mike Brown refused, Palmer threatened to retire, and he was eventually traded to the Raiders in 2011.
That leaves out the part where Palmer led the Bengals to a 11-5 season in 2005, led the NFL in TD passes with 32 and had a team that could run with the best in the AFC. That all changed when Pittsburgh’s Kimo von Oelhoffen slammed into Palmer’s knee in the AFC wild-card game and the quarterback tore his ACL and MCL.
That more than anything ruined the Bengals’ Super Bowl chances. Which leads to the second point.
‘Burrow will never win a Super Bowl in Cincinnati.’
This narrative heated up when Burrow joined the Dan Patrick Show and offered a tweetable clip: “You want to go No. 1, but you also want to go to a great organization that’s committed to winning, committed to winning Super Bowls,” Burrow said in the interview. “There’s a lot of factors that go into it.”
Now it’s as if the Bengals are the only team that has not won a Super Bowl. There are 12 NFL franchises in that club. Cincinnati is one of five teams that has been to multiple Super Bowls without winning one, along with Minnesota, Buffalo, Atlanta and Carolina. The Chargers are in that club, too, as a franchise that had Dan Fouts and Philip Rivers at quarterback. It’s a weak narrative at best.
Yes, there are a lot of factors that go into it, and Burrow answers the biggest question for second-year coach Zac Taylor. Cincinnati would have a franchise quarterback to go with good skill position talent that includes Joe Mixon, A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd. That would incentivize building an offensive line that can protect the franchise. If you want to criticize Brown for not spending enough to build a Super Bowl contender, then that’s fair.
Maybe he has watched what’s going on with former Heisman Trophy winners in Lamar Jackson with Baltimore and Mayfield with Cleveland, not to mention the window to upstage the rival Steelers, who are living out the last days of the Ben Roethlisberger era.
The quarterback changes everything, and Burrow has the kind of cachet that could change the outlook for a franchise that is dangerously close to reliving the dark ages from 1991-2004, when the Bengals failed to have a winning season. That’s the last talking point.
‘Cincinnati isn’t the right place for Burrow.’
Are you kidding?
It’s a bonus that Burrow is already a Southeast Ohio legend, a former Ohio High School Mr. Football who would sell jerseys and help increase ticket sales for a franchise that ranked 31st in attendance last season. It makes too much sense. Esiason handed Burrow the freaking Bengals helmet.
Sure, the Bengals could go for a defensive end like Ohio State’s Chase Young or explore other options at quarterback like Oregon’s Justin Herbert. Those are draft-day regrets waiting to happen.
Go put on the film of the two College Football Playoff games, the ones where Burrow put up 1,035 total yards of offense against Oklahoma and Clemson with an unmistakable flair reserved for the quarterbacks who can change the game and, in this case, a franchise.
Cincinnati won’t ruin Burrow, and Burrow should embrace the opportunity to play close to home.
That is the easiest story to write, because that is what will happen.
It’s a matter of when, not if.
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