The Cincinnati Bengals have their next franchise quarterback. And the duty ahead of him could not be any clearer.
Months of speculation concluded Thursday night when the Bengals selected former LSU standout Joe Burrow with the first overall pick in the NFL draft. With this year’s event taking place virtually because of the coronavirus pandemic, Burrow celebrated with his family and put on a Bengals hat from his home in Athens County, Ohio.
Shortly after Cincinnati officially added Burrow, Bengals coach Zac Taylor stated the QB will be expected to compete for the team’s starting job. Cincinnati’s new quarterback also had the same understanding.
“That’s exactly how I expect to do it as well,” Burrow stated during a teleconference with local reporters. “I’m going to come in and compete and try to be the best player I can be.”
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Burrow is coming off a historic season at LSU during which he threw for an FBS-record 60 touchdowns as he led the Tigers to a national championship.
He also completed 76.3% of his passes and won the Heisman Trophy.
He inherits a team with an unsure future at the starting quarterback spot. Veteran Andy Dalton, who has been the team’s primary starter since he was drafted in 2011, is entering the final year of his contract. Dalton’s $17.7 million salary will put the Bengals over the cap limit.
Taylor didn’t want to go as far as naming Burrow as the team’s Week 1 starter. Taylor said one of the biggest challenges for Burrow and the rest of the incoming rookie class is adapting to the speed in the NFL, even for players such as Burrow who played at college football’s highest level.
Burrow is the 318th No. 1 overall pick in NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, WNBA and MLS history. But he’s the first to win national player of the year and a national title, and break a single-season NCAA record in his final college season.
Burrow stated he isn’t worried about being burdened by the pressure of leading the Bengals back to playoff success.
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