Welcome to the inaugural article of the Armchair GM series. In these articles I will look at certain scenarios teams find themselves in and how I would go about them if I was the GM. These scenarios will include anything from trades, contract disputes, etc.
Today, we’re going to look at the situation the Cincinnati Bengals find themselves in. This month, the NFL draft will take place, and the Bengals hold the number one overall pick. In almost every mock draft, you will find the Bengals taking Joe Burrow, QB from LSU. Burrow won the National Championship, and Heisman trophy this past year. He’s such a great prospect, and there has been a lot of speculation that some other quarterback needy teams would be willing to sell the farm to go up and get him.
The only team I believe to have the draft capital to trade up to number one is the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins have a league high 14 draft picks, with three in the first round. Now the Dolphins have been synonymous with Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa, who is also a good prospect, but don’t think they wouldn’t trade up to get Burrow. Multiple sources have said that the Dolphins really like Burrow and would consider trading up to get him.
Now I’m not sure what the asking price is or what the Dolphins would be willing to give up. Let’s just say the Dolphins offer their three first round picks, a second round pick, and a first or second round pick next year. If I’m the Bengals, I do not have to think about that, I’m taking that and running with it. There is a reason why the Bengals are picking number one, the roster is pretty terrible.
Looking over the roster, we find very few bright spots on it. On the offense you have AJ Green who’s best days are likely behind him, John Ross who is looking like a bust along with Tyler Boyd and Joe Mixon who are becoming superstars. The offensive line was rated one of the worst in the league last year. They are getting their first round pick from last year back, Jonah Williams. On defense they have aging Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap on the defensive line. Carl Lawson, Sam Hubbard, and Jessie Bates could be stars down the road. Those are the only redeemable parts I see on the roster, outside of that, it’s not that great. With those picks, you could overhaul your roster with young talent, and create a solid foundation for the future.
I also don’t think Burrow wants to go to Cincinnati. Yes, he’s from Ohio, and what kid doesn’t dream of playing for his hometown team? You don’t if your hometown team is the Bengals, a poorly run franchise with few redeemable qualities. Burrow would be going to one of the worst offensive lines in the league, in the AFC North, which is full of fierce pass rushes. I also don’t think Burrow is built for the AFC North. His arm is good, not great, which isn’t ideal in the cold, windy climate of the AFC North. He’s not that big of a guy at 215 pounds and I don’t think he can withstand the beating he’s going take his first few years behind that atrocious offensive line.
The Bengals definitely need a QB, as the “Red Rifle’s” best days of mediocrity are behind him. At number five, you should still have your pick at the remaining quarterbacks. In those you have Oregon QB Justin Herbert, who more fits the mold of an AFC North QB, which is a big guy with a big arm. Does he have his flaws? Of course, but so does Burrow.
About half of all first round picks don’t pan out. You have your can’t miss guys like Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck, and John Elway, but they’re generational players. I just don’t think Burrow is, so I would trade out and pick up the extra picks to influx my roster with talent. There’s a chance Burrow can go somewhere else and succeed, but that’s the risk you take in the draft business.
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