The Cincinnati Bengals were simply bad in 2019. They went 2-14 on the year, the worst record in the NFL.
With that, comes the first pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Smart money is on them taking quarterback Joe Burrow from LSU with that selection.
However, if the Bengals want to actually compete, they will need to do more than just draft a new quarterback.
Here are three ways the Bengals' offense must improve this offseason.
Cincinnati's offense was predictably bad in 2019. A big part of that was the offensive line. They allowed 48 sacks, the ninth-worst in the NFL.
You could argue that's not that bad. However, this is a team with problems, a lot of them. If you're going to have problems, you can't pile on sacks too.
The Bengals need all the momentum they can get. And sacks are absolutely momentum killers.
Most importantly though. Who was it Cincinnati was going to take in the draft? A quarterback.
Taking Burrow at number one and immediately feeding him to the wolves with a bad offensive line is just stupid. You need to have a plan in place to protect your massive investment. Get a few more offensive lineman, to bring in some better starters and more depth. Make sure Burrow is protected as much as possible.
Cincinnati actually has some solid receivers. A.J. Green has had serious health issues recently. He's still an elite receiver when healthy though.
Tyler Boyd enjoyed a fantastic year in 2019 despite bad QB play as well. Auden Tate and Alex Wilkerson both had really strong campaigns as well.
Then there's John Ross. He has ridiculous blazing speed and a lot of potential. He only appeared in eight games in 2019 but racked up 506 yards and three touchdowns on 28 receptions.
That's a really great group actually. The tight ends are “eh” though. Tyler Eifert is now a free agent. He appeared in 16 games last year, it was the first time he did that in his entire career.
In fact, Eifert appeared in just 14 games in the three previous seasons combined. Those injuries kept the lore high. Eifert was this elite target. He was massive, a good route runner and a fantastic red zone target. Injuries were just holding him back.
Then in his first full season with the Bengals, he had 43 receptions for 436 yards and three touchdowns. Solid, nothing to go crazy about though.
With his injury history and lack of production, Eifert might not be the tight end you want for your rookie quarterback. You want a reliable target who can serve as a safety blanket for a quarterback. Honestly, Eifert going to another team could be great for him. Maybe he breaks out and turns into that star. It's not happening for the Bengals.
I've alluded to it the entire article. Obviously this has to be on the list. It's obvious the Bengals will take Burrow with the first overall pick. They haven't done it yet though. Which means this is still eligible to be on the list.
The Bengals could do a lot of great things this offseason. However, if they don't get Burrow, it might be looked at as a failure no matter what they do.
Burrow is the clear number one pick in the NFL Draft. He also happens to play the position that the Bengals need most desperately.
Andy Dalton is not terrible. The Bengals won't win with him though, that much has been proven over the years. At this point, Dalton's only going to hurt the team starting. He's good enough to win them a few games, but not good enough to elevate the team to greatness.
Maybe a healthy Cincinnati team with Dalton at QB wins 6-7 games. Enough to ruin their draft stock, but not to sniff the playoffs. Burrow could be that franchise QB the Bengals are desperate for. Go get him.