All signs point to the Cincinnati Bengals keeping the top overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft and selecting LSU quarterback Joe Burrow on April 23.
While the team has yet to announce its plans, coach Zac Taylor’s interview Monday on the “Dan Patrick Show” reinforced the view that the team is not looking to trade down, despite reports last week suggesting the Miami Dolphins were looking to move up.
“It doesn’t look that way,” Taylor said when asked if he could see a scenario where the Bengals traded down. “If there is a guy there that you believe in that can really change the franchise over the next 10 to 15 years, then that’s a hard thing to pass up on,” he added.
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“You know, people all the time ask me what would it take to give up that pick,” Taylor said. “If there’s somebody there that people are willing to give up a lot for, that they believe in, then that just really verifies what we think about those players as well.”
Taylor did not reveal who the Bengals were targeting at No. 1, but he did seem to indicate that the franchise has mostly made up its mind with just over a week remaining in the scouting process.
“I think we’re really comfortable with the direction we’re headed,” Taylor said.
“I’m not quite ready to make any major announcements yet, but we’ve done our homework here the last three or four months, kind of vetted all these guys out.”
Ever since last season went south for the Bengals, Cincinnati has been linked to Burrow, an Ohio native who was a backup for two seasons at Ohio State before transferring.
His 2019 campaign at LSU is one of the best college seasons ever — he threw 60 touchdown passes in winning the Heisman Trophy and leading the Tigers to a national title.
The NFL has restricted teams’ access to prospects because of the COVID-19 outbreak, but the Bengals have maximized their allowable time talking with Burrow: three one-hour phone calls per week.
“He’s got a great edge to him, I think that’s the best way to put it,” Taylor said of Burrow. “You can talk about confidence and all that stuff to quarterbacks, but he’s one of those guys that put in the work, so he’s got the confidence in his abilities because there’s not a lot of unknown out there for him.
“We’ve gotten to know him. We’ve gotten to know a lot of the guys during this conversation over the last couple of weeks. We really maxed out that time talking to him. We feel comfortable with all those guys there at the top.”
Andy Dalton is still under contract with the Bengals but has previously made it clear that he wants no part of a full rebuild and was upset that the team would not trade him to a contender midway through last season. Taylor said that “all options are on the table” in regard to Dalton’s future with the team.
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