The Cincinnati Bengals are looking ahead to the future after drafting Ohio native and the 2019 Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback from LSU, Joe Burrow, with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. The event was held virtually Thursday night for the first time ever due to the coronavirus outbreak as team officials drafted remotely from their homes, and it was no surprise that Burrow’s name was the first to be announced.

Burrow had been connected with the Bengals since the draft order was released at the conclusion of the 2019 NFL season and his impressive performances at LSU which included a national championship win and an FBS best 60 touchdowns, heavily influenced Cincinnati’s decision. After the selection, Bengals head coach Zac Taylor claimed Burrow would be competing for the starting job next year despite his recent success.

“That’s exactly how I expect to do it as well,” Burrow said during a video chat session with local reporters. “I’m going to come in and compete and try to be the best player I can be.”

Team executives are hoping Burrow can help turn around a team that’s had a losing record for the last four seasons with no playoff appearances since 2015. “I mean for me, it doesn’t matter where you get picked,” Burrow said. “I could have been 189th pick, I could be No. 1. I’m going to work the exact same and try to be the best quarterback I can be for this city.”


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Cincinnati’s starter since 2011, Andy Dalton, was benched last year for poor performance amid the worst season of his career. In 13 starts, Dalton had a career-worst quarterback rating of 78.3 and threw just 16 touchdowns to go along with 14 interceptions. Although he has been in trade talks as the organization hopes to move on from him, the plan hasn’t come to fruition yet. He is in the final year of a contract worth $17.7 million that currently puts Cincinnati over the salary cap.

Regardless of Dalton’s situation, Taylor knows Burrow has a lot to learn in order to make the transition from college football to the  NFL. “We selected him because we know he’s going to be able to handle all of that,” Taylor said. “It’s just a matter of accumulating those reps as quickly as he can.”

Because all rookie camps and OTA’s have been postponed due to the spread of COVID-19, Burrow said he will have to adapt to missing those snaps and work on learning Taylor’s playbook as well as how to call plays in the huddle.

“You have to be stern in your voice, because if you are in there wavering and wobbling and fumbling over words, all the guys are going to be like, ‘What is this guy doing in here, Coach? Get him out. Get someone else in,'” Burrow told ESPN. “So, that’s something I’m going to be really focused on.”


The Bengals haven’t won a playoff game since 1990, which is the longest drought in the NFL, and Burrow looks to turn around a franchise that has never won a Super Bowl.


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