The Cincinnati Bengals were the worst team in the NFL this season, and it wasn’t even particularly close.
They won just two games, and at one point, they were 0-11 before coming away with their first win at the expense of the New York Jets.
The Bengals are clearly light years away from contending, and it’s going to take numerous offseasons for Cincinnati to begin to get back on track.
Nevertheless, here are the three most pressing needs for the Bengals this offseason:
3. Offensive Line Help
Believe it or not, Cincinnati was far from the worst offensive line in terms of pass protection, as eight other teams allowed more sacks than the Bengals on the year.
But that doesn’t change the fact that Cincy’s offensive line, which Pro Football Focus ranked 30th in the NFL at season’s end, is really bad.
Considering that the Bengals are probably going to take a quarterback with the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, it would make sense for the club to invest a whole lot of time in improving the offensive line.
This obviously isn’t something Cincinnati can completely accomplish in one offseason, but the Bengals absolutely need to get a head start on this as soon as possible.
2. Run Stuffers
The Bengals need help everywhere on the defensive side of the ball, but the one area that stands out most is run defense.
Cincinnati was gashed for 148.9 rushing yards per game this season, which ranked last in the NFL. It also gave up a hefty 4.7 yards per carry.
Make no mistake: the Bengals’ pass defense is also horrendous, as they have little to no pass rush and a very shoddy secondary, but unless they can start stopping the run with some kind of regularity, it isn’t going to matter.
The problem is, one player is not going to solve Cincy’s run-stuffing woes. The Bengals need to bring in at least a couple of guys to help fix this issue, and NFL teams don’t have unlimited money to spend.
It’s going to be a process for Cincinnati, but acquiring some big defensive linemen who can come in and at least make the Bengals respectable up front is step one.
1. The Bengals Need A Quarterback
The Andy Dalton era is clearly over in Cincinnati, and Ryan Finley failed in his attempt to show that he can potentially be the Bengals’ quarterback of the future.
The good news is that Cincy has the first overall pick, so it can just take LSU’s Joe Burrow (probably) and call it a day.
It should be noted that Tua Tagovailoa’s decision to enter the draft has made things a bit interesting for the Bengals, as they can now potentially trade down, get Tagovailoa and pick up more assets in the process, but I’m not sure Cincinnati should be messing around like that.
This is a miserable franchise that is in desperate need of a shot in the arm, and Burrow is widely considered the top quarterback prospect available, especially given Tua’s injury woes.