NFL Franchise Exit Report: Cincinnati Bengals

By: Little Italy (Publisher)

Follow on Twitter: @LILITALY853

Division: AFC North

2020 Finish: 28th

Record: (5-11)

2021 First RD Draft Pick: 5th

What went Right in 2020?

For the Bengals, the main thing that went right was Joe Burrow and his ability to command this offense so well as a rookie. Burrow proved to the world that he in fact could be the next great franchise quarterback in the NFL. Burrow didn’t light up the scoreboard, but he did have many games where he piled up yards. In fact Burrow threw for over 300 yards in half the games he started (10). Many would argue that Burrow didn’t look good against the Bengals division rivals the Steelers and Ravens, but that is expected of a rookie quarterback going against top NFL defenses. Not to mention, we can’t ignore the fact that Burrow didn’t take a real meaningful snap until week one, as a result of the Covid ravaged 2020 offseason. In addition to Burrows consistency week to week as being a bright spot so was his connection with fellow rookie Tee Higgins. Both of these young players look poised to be NFL and fantasy stars for years to come. In addition, Tyler Boyd looked very good catching balls out of the slot from Burrow, which like Higgins, will make him an early round draft commodity this summer.

What Needs to Improve in 2021?

With Burrow being knocked out of the 2020 season after just ten starts with a serious knee injury, the offensive line is the number one area that needs improved. Burrow’s knee injury against The Football Team better have been a wakeup call to this front office, or we could be looking at Andrew Luck 2.0. What happened to Burrow this season was my one major concern with him coming into 2020, could the O-Line protect him enough to keep him healthy all season, so far that answer is no. Another area that needs to improve significantly is the run game, specifically Joe Mixon. Mixon gave us fantasy owners essentially just one good week of production. Mixon also comes in as my biggest bust of 2020, as I was high on him in 2020 after his strong end to 2019. I was not alone with this take, as Mixon seems to be one of the most hyped players entering every new fantasy year, usually resulting in a late first to early second round draft spot. However, moving forward I am pulling back from him and will not be actively targeting him in the early rounds of fantasy drafts this summer. For Mixon it is all going to depend on cost and if he becomes a value pick in 2021. As of writing this today, Mixon in my eyes is a late second round to early third round pick. Next time I will dive into the Franchise Exit Report for the Philadelphia Eagles.