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Three reasons the Bengals should trade the No. 1 draft pick

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April 15th, 2020

Decisions, decisions. 

The Cincinnati Bengals hold the first pick in next week’s NFL Draft, and they appear set to take LSU star quarterback Joe Burrow. 

But the draft presents all sorts of interesting trade opportunities, rumors, and speculation.  

Here are three reasons the Bengals should trade the No. 1 pick. 

Bengals could receive a significant return

Rumors were running rampant not too long ago, about the Miami Dolphins making a massive offer to the Bengals for that coveted first pick. 

Let’s say the Dolphins start the conversation with, “We’re willing to involve all three of our first-round picks this year, as the starting point, in any potential deal for the first overall pick…”

Even if the Bengals are sold on Burrow, they would have to at least entertain that offer.  

If the Dolphins are serious about trading up from No. 5 to No. 1, the Bengals could leverage their position to acquire an even larger haul of picks.

The Dolphins are loaded with selections this year. If they are willing to include second- and third-round picks, in addition to first-round capital, it would give the Bengals additional opportunities to find more impact players. 

It’s easy to single out the Dolphins, given the recent rumors and the draft assets they have — 14 total picks, to be exact, including six in the first three rounds. 

If any team is willing to sell the farm for the top pick, it’s in the Bengals' best interest to listen and consider the options.

Bumpy road for past No. 1 overall quarterbacks

Let’s take a look at the recent quarterbacks who were selected first overall.

2007: JaMarcus Russell

He played three seasons in the NFL with the Oakland Raiders. Was cut in 2010, and is regarded as one of the biggest draft busts in NFL history.

2009: Matthew Stafford

Stafford has played 149 games for the Detroit Lions, and has put together some impressive seasons, but he has an 0-3 record in the playoffs.

2010: Sam Bradford

Injuries derailed his career. He missed the entire 2019 season and started five games in his final two years in the NFL. 

2011: Cam Newton

He is a dynamic quarterback when at the top of his game. Newton took Carolina to the Super Bowl in 2016. Injuries have stalled the momentum of his career, and he is now a free agent. 

2012: Andrew Luck

Luck retired at the age of 29, during a comeback from another injury. Injuries limited him to 86 games in six seasons, and he missed all of 2017. 

2015: Jameis Winston

Winston is currently a free agent, after the Buccaneers decided to move on and picked up Tom Brady. The No. 2 pick from that draft, Marcus Mariota, is now the backup QB for the Las Vegas Raiders, after he lost his starter’s job in Tennessee last season. 

2016: Jared Goff

He helped the Rams get to the Super Bowl in 2018, but regressed last season. 

2018: Baker Mayfield

He had all the confidence in the world following a promising 2018 rookie season, but regressed significantly in 2019 and was brought back down to Earth.  

2019: Kyler Murray

Murray had a strong rookie season, has a high ceiling, and the Cardinals have added nice pieces on offense to support him for his sophomore campaign.


It's not always a smooth road for quarterbacks taken first overall.

Burrow led LSU to a national title, and e has the tools to be a great quarterback, but everything about the draft — and what happens in the days, weeks, months, and years ahead — is a roll of the dice, no matter how much research a team does.

Players suffer injuries. Sometimes teams don’t add necessary pieces around a top pick to maximize the opportunity. Sometimes scouts and executives overrate players. Sometimes success from college doesn't translate into the NFL. 

Having the No.1 pick doesn't guarantee success. 

If a team offers additional draft picks, opportunities to increase the chances of finding multiple impact players, why not consider it?

What if Joe Burrow really doesn’t want to play in Cincinnati?

This particular narrative made the rounds during the NFL Combine, and Burrow publicly refuted speculation he might not want to play in Cincinnati. 

But if the Bengals have any doubt Burrow does not want to play for the team, this will need to be addressed before Thursday, particularly if they feel it will weaken their position in a potential trade.

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