Haarmeyer: Bengals Must Select Joe Burrow with No. 1 Pick

As the college football season ends, football fanatics turn their attention to the NFL Draft, and the big question of: “Who goes first?”

As most die-hard sports fans are very aware, we truly become part of the teams that we pull for. Our happiness or sadness in a matter of seconds can be manipulated by a good or bad play. Bengals fans have dealt with the latter of the two: bad plays.

As somebody who has been going to Paul Brown Stadium for Bengals home games since I was about five years old, I have enough sad sports stories to last me the rest of my life twice over. I would generally be considered an optimist in most scenarios that I come in contact with regularly, but these Cincinnati sports teams have transformed me into a true pessimist on game day. Coming off of a 2-14 season, the Bengals are set to take the podium first in this upcoming draft and all I can think about is how the team could mess this up.

Sure, it’s a long way off, but rumors are already swirling of the Bengals possibly trading out of that No. 1 spot to build up more assets for the future. As reported on Jan. 19 by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, there is a general feeling that the Bengals do not have intentions of trading out of No. 1. This news made fans absolutely ecstatic, but of course, in typical Bengals fashion, they were brought back to Earth with some not so fun news. On the following Monday, Duke Tobin, the Director of Player Personnel for the Bengals, said that that Schefter report was “news to me” and that it was way too early to say definitively. While that is the typical “cookie-cutter” answer that teams give media, it cannot hurt to just come out and say he wants Burrow.

Fans can’t put into words how furious the idea of trading away a franchise quarterback is. It is purely mind-boggling that people saw the pure dominance of Joe Burrow this season and are still skeptical, or still hold faith in surrounding Andy Dalton with other weapons. There is also still a fraction of folks who believe Chase Young is the right choice to make. While Young could massively enhance the pass rush, which ranked 28th in total sacks in 2019, he can’t right the ship all on his own. It also doesn’t help Young’s case that in the biggest moments of the Buckeye season, he was relatively quiet.

While one man can’t change a whole team, the culture shock that Burrow can bring to this city is huge. After getting rid of Marvin Lewis last year and bringing in youngster Zac Taylor, it is only right to keep that overhaul coming. A new signal-caller is the easiest and fastest way to change the culture of a team and the outright confidence and swagger that Burrow walks around with are exactly what the doctor ordered for Cincinnati.

The Heisman winner finished with an NCAA the record for most touchdown passes in a season at 60, an NCAA record for total touchdowns at 65, 521 yards of offense in the National Championship, and many other staggering numbers.

After seeing Burrow complete what may be the single best season by anybody in college history, the Bengals could not possibly be more confident in taking him at No. 1. In the biggest moments of the season, he showed up time and time again, facing the best teams in college football.

One could create a mile-long list of the positive attributes Joe Burrow brings to the LSU Tigers: his rocket arm, poise in the pocket, ability to avoid the pass rush, and what seems to be an addiction to big plays.

Joe Burrow has proven to be the only correct answer as to who the Bengals should be taking at No. 1 in this year’s NFL draft.

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