It’s fair to say that the last NFL season was one to forget for fans of the Cincinnati Bengals. A regular season record of two wins and 14 defeats told the whole story, as new coach Zac Taylor’s reign got off to the worst possible start. A run of 11 straight losses was how the Bengals began the season, and although they salvaged some semblance of pride with a couple of wins towards the end of the regular campaign, it was another season of disappointment for the Ohio franchise.
But the silver lining to the Bengals’ catastrophic campaign is the opportunity to pick first at the 2020 NFL Draft, and according to the latest NFL Draft odds, it’s quarterback Joe Burrow who looks set to be the overall number one pick and join the Bengals’ roster. Burrow is a talented QB who has made his name as one of the most gifted playmakers in the country with the LSU Tigers.
Of course, this year’s NFL Draft will have a very different feel. With the coronavirus outbreak and subsequent lockdown measures, the usual publicity and fanfare surrounding the Draft is greatly reduced this time around. The Draft itself is set to take place via video conference, and although it will feel very different to usual, it will prove to be a welcome distraction from the relentlessly sad news we’re hearing each day. This will be especially true for the Bengals, who look likely to add Burrow to their ranks.
It’s the kind of pick that would bring a newfound sense of hope to fans of the Bengals – those who have been left reeling at the underperformance of quarterbacks Andy Dalton and Ryan Finley. There is a sense that Dalton has had his time at the highest level, and that the moment is right for a younger player to take on the mantle. Finley didn’t exactly tear up any trees in his few appearances last season, and so the prospective arrival of Burrow is one that would undoubtedly excite the fans.
One of the most worrying aspects of the most recent NFL campaign was that the Bengals did not seem to learn their lessons from the season before – in fact, things got worse. A 6-10 record in the 2018 was followed by a 2-14 record the following campaign, and now the Bengals’ staff and players must be left scratching their heads at what has gone wrong.
But some advantageous picks in the Draft will give confidence to fans, and the hope is that with a few shrewd acquisitions, fortunes will begin to change at Paul Brown Stadium. After all, it’s not all that long since the Bengals were in the running in the NFL play-offs. Between 2009 and 2015, they made the postseason in six out of seven campaigns, and although they lost in the wild-card round each time, there was a sense that this was as team with potential to go deeper and perhaps even reach a first Super Bowl since 1988.
Alas, the fortunes of the Bengals have endured a spiralled downturn in recent years, but that is now the past, and the prospect of this number one Draft pick will hopefully inspire hope that a return to something like the good old days may be just around the corner.