The Cincinnati Bengals have a lot to clean up heading into the 2020 season after finishing out last year with an overall record of 2-14. Cincinnati has undergone some notable changes this offseason — the most significant of which is the departure of veteran quarterback Andy Dalton and the drafting of former LSU quarterback Joe Burrow with the first overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Many analysts have shown faith in the former Tigers signal-caller as he prepares to take his career to the professional level, while others are skeptical and believe he was simply in the right place at the right time at the end of his college career.
Here’s a look at what the Bengals look like at quarterback in 2020.
Cincinnati Bengals at quarterback in 2020
If it wasn’t clear enough that Burrow would be taking the starting gig in Cincinnati after the Bengals took him first overall in the 2020 NFL Draft, it became crystal clear after the team parted ways with veteran Dalton earlier this offseason.
Burrow, who some are skeptical may be no more than a product of the LSU system, possesses a work ethic, football I.Q., and mental quickness hardly paralleled by another college quarterback. His physical traits don’t overwhelm the same way that quarterbacks like Jacob Eason’s do, but he makes up for it in all of the areas that simply can’t be taught.
The leap from college to the NFL isn’t one that should be underestimated, but Burrow should be able to take the reins of this team and become its leader of the future after a historical career in Baton Rouge. After all, he didn’t finish out his time at LSU with a lengthy list of shattered records and awards, the Heisman Trophy, and guide his team through an undefeated season capped by a national championship victory for no reason.
In 2019 at LSU, Burrow passed for a total of 60 touchdowns and just six interceptions, completing 76.3 percent of his passes. He also started 28 games for the Tigers with a 25-3 record.
Dolegala came to the Bengals as an undrafted rookie and has yet to take a snap in the regular season. But the raw physical ability is there, especially where arm strength is concerned, and the fact that Ryan Finley has already produced poorly on the field could work to his advantage.
Based on what little we’ve seen of him in the preseason, he’s certainly a developmental prospect, but he provides enough intrigue for the team to allow him a chance to prove he can take the next step.
Finley may technically have an advantage in terms of experience, but the product he’s delivered to us on the field has been subpar.
Over three starts, Finley completed just 47.1% of his passes for two touchdowns and five interceptions. That completion percentage and touchdown-to-interception ratio are far from competent, and it’s hard to believe coach Zac Taylor hasn’t seen enough.
So, it’s quite obvious Finley didn’t perform adequately when he was last named the team’s starter, but given Dolegala’s lack of experience, it wouldn’t be totally unsurprising to see him play backup to Burrow this year.
The situation the Bengals are in at quarterback almost makes you believe they have to bring in a veteran presence at some point, which could give the offense some extra solidity in the instance Burrow goes down with an injury and gives the rookie a seasoned mentor to work with.