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Bengals' Zac Taylor: 'Long Way to Go' Before Decision to Draft Joe Burrow No. 1

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJanuary 17, 2020

LSU quarterback Joe Burrow passes against Clemson during the second half of a NCAA College Football Playoff national championship game Monday, Jan. 13, 2020, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor suggested Thursday that he isn't yet resigned to selecting LSU quarterback Joe Burrow with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft. 

When asked about Burrow by Geoff Hobson of the Bengals' official website, Taylor said the following:

"We've started the process of evaluating him. We certainly have a long way to go before making decisions on what we're doing with the first pick. That's been exciting. We're not preparing for an opponent, so we have a chance to jump into the actual film work for all the position groups.

[...]

"It was impressive. There's no doubt. I'd like to make sure we're a little more thorough on our film evaluation with a lot of guys before we start making statements on players. But certainly he had an impressive year."

En route to winning the Heisman Trophy, Burrow enjoyed arguably the greatest quarterback season in college football history and led the Tigers to a 15-0 record culminating in a 42-25 win over the Clemson Tigers in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game.

Burrow completed a remarkable 76.3 percent of his passes for 5,671 yards in LSU's revamped offense. He also set FBS records with 60 passing touchdowns and 65 touchdowns responsible for while throwing just six interceptions.

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The Athens, Ohio, native was especially dominant in the national championship game against Clemson with 463 passing yards and six total touchdowns.

He is widely viewed as the best quarterback and top overall player in the 2020 NFL draft class, and he went No. 1 overall to Cincinnati in Bleacher Report draft expert Matt Miller's most recent mock draft.

The Bengals have a clear need at quarterback, as they seem ready to move on from veteran Andy Dalton after benching him at one point this season. Rookie fourth-round pick Ryan Finley started three games in place of Dalton, but he went 0-3, completed less than 50.0 percent of his passes and threw just two touchdowns and two interceptions.

A franchise quarterback would breathe new life into a Bengals team that sputtered to a 2-14 record in 2019, and all signs point toward Burrow being that guy.

There are a couple of other prospects Cincinnati could consider with the top pick, though. If the Bengals are set on taking a quarterback, Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa is an option, although he seems unlikely to go first given the ankle and hip injuries he has dealt with over the past two seasons.

The Bengals could also take a long look at Ohio State defensive end Chase Young, but there is no guarantee they will have their pick of the litter among quarterbacks again in the near future if they don't take one now.

Anyone other than Burrow going first overall would be a huge upset, but Taylor's comments suggest that the Bengals want to at least do their due diligence before making a final decision.

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