The Bengals have released QB Andy Dalton. They looked for a trade partner but had no leverage with Dalton set to count nearly $18 million against the cap. We'll see where he lands, but New England looks like the only spot where Dalton would have a legitimate chance to win a starting job. This move confirms that rookie Joe Burrow will be under center for Cincinnati come Week 1.
The Bengals selected Clemson WR Tee Higgins with the 33rd overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft. A 5-star recruit and top 20 player overall in the 2017 recruiting class, Higgins broke out as a sophomore in 2018. He led the Tigers with 59 catches and 12 TDs that year, finishing 2nd with 936 receiving yards. Higgins caught another 59 balls last season and set new career highs with 1,167 yards and 13 scores. His 19.8 yards per catch was good for 6th among players with 40+ grabs. He averaged a big 13.4 yards per target, and his 3.67 yards per route run ranked 2nd among 30 of this year’s top WR prospects — behind only CeeDee Lamb. Higgins’ 27 career receiving TDs are tied with DeAndre Hopkins and Sammy Watkins for the most in school history. At 6’4 with 96th percentile arm length, Higgins is a classic big-bodied receiver who wins with size and ball skills. He opted not to work out at the Combine and disappointed with a 40 time in the mid 4.5s at his Pro Day. But the tape and college production say Higgins is a good bet for NFL success. He'll battle with John Ross and Auden Tate for snaps behind A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd this season. But Green is on the franchise tag, while Ross and Tate are only under Cincinnati’s control through 2021. Tied to QB Joe Burrow, Higgins has landed in a nice spot.
The Bengals selected LSU QB Joe Burrow with the 1st pick of the 2020 NFL Draft. Burrow looked like a mid- to late-round prospect at this time a year ago. He redshirted his 1st season at Ohio State and then backed up J.T. Barrett for the next 2. Burrow transferred to LSU in 2018, when he mustered just 2,894 passing yards with 16 TDs on a 58% completion rate and 7.6 yards per attempt. Then came a massive 2019: 5,671 yards, 60 TDs, just 6 INTs, a 76% completion rate and 10.8 yards per attempt. Burrow received the highest passing grade from Pro Football Focus since the site started grading college players in 2014. We could point out the fact that the breakout season came as a 22-year-old, 5th-year senior playing with a loaded group of weapons. But watch Burrow and it’s tough to not fall in love. He has incredible pocket presence and mobility, is pinpoint accurate to all levels of the field and has underrated athleticism, totaling 767 rushing yards and 12 TDs over the past 2 seasons. He’ll be under center for Cincinnati come Week 1, whether or not QB Andy Dalton is traded. Burrow will have a nice group of weapons at his disposal in A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd, John Ross, Auden Tate and Joe Mixon. Hopefully the Bengals use the rest of this draft to bolster their offensive line.