In today’s installment of The Least Surprising Thing Ever, I bring you news that the Cincinnati Bengals have no intention, no matter what the bounty, of trading out of the first-overall slot for the 2020 NFL Draft. It almost sounds as though they already have a good feeling about what they plan to do with that pick…I wonder what it could be.
With Andy Dalton being Andy Dalton and Ryan Finley also being Ryan Finley, one would imagine that Cincinnati is eager to address the quarterback position, and wouldn’t you know it, there’s a college quarterback coming out for the draft who just had an absolutely bonkers season who will be available.
This is in spite of the fact that many believe the Miami Dolphins, who would theoretically have the resources to make a concerted push, and the Carolina Panthers, who just hired his offensive coordinator, will want to try to trade up to get LSU’s Joe Burrow. Others low on the totem pole like the New York Giants have already addressed the quarterback position.
For the majority of the past decade, Dalton, a 2011 second-round pick, has been the Bengals’ quarterback. He has had some good seasons, and been to a surprising number of Pro Bowl, even. In fact, they reached the postseason in each of his first five seasons. They only had nine playoff appearances before 2011.
But he’s clearly not their franchise quarterback, not if they have aspirations of winning a Super Bowl. While they went to the playoffs five years in a row, they also lost in the Wildcard Round five years in a row. Granted, they probably should have won at least one of those games, but the point stands.
Over the past four seasons, during which Cincinnati has gone 21-42-1, Dalton has completed 1201 of 1952 pass attempts for 13486 yards with 80 touchdowns to 45 interceptions and a quarterback rating of 86.4. Not terrible, but certainly far from great. The sort of numbers that get you to the playoffs half the time and win one maybe once every five years.
Burrow would be an entirely different level of talent, but they also may not have much to work with. A.J. Green, who has been often injured in the past two years, and didn’t even play in 2019, will be an unrestricted free agent. John Ross has finally hinted at success, but also has injuries. Tyler Boyd is somewhat limited in terms of his ceiling, but is skilled.
The offensive line may be the biggest concern, with the hope that 2019 first-round pick Jonah Williams is ready to rock at left tackle after getting injured in the offseason. They could use at least one or two other further upgrades. At a bare minimum, getting Cordy Glenn to right tackle or something, because Bobby Hart sucks—ask T.J. Watt.