Quarterback Joe Burrow came in at No. 3, wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase came in at No. 6, and safety Jessie Bates came in at No. 20.
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson was ranked No. 2 and Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert was ranked No. 1.
From CBS Sports:
On Burrow: Joe Cool is everything you want in a franchise QB: prototypical size, championship-level poise, and steady mechanics across the board. Advancing all the way to the Super Bowl in year two confirmed him as top-10 material, even in a stacked AFC, and with an improved line, he should feel even freer to spread the ball from the pocket. The only chief concern, if you’re looking to nitpick, is his long-term durability, considering he’s not a definitively mobile signal-caller and has already had a big knee injury.
On Chase: A walking — no, sprinting — highlight reel, Chase couldn’t have had a more promising debut, teaming up with old LSU buddy Joe Burrow to give the Bengals the most dangerous QB-WR pairing this side of Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams (now defunct). Just get the ball in his hands. That’s the game plan with Chase, who averaged 18 yards per catch as a big-play machine.
I’m not sure why Burrow isn’t No. 1 on this list, though I can understand him being behind Jackson, who was the NFL MVP in 2019.
Putting Burrow behind Herbert, however, is very questionable. Sure, Herbert put up better numbers last season, but Burrow played one less game. And, more importantly, Burrow took his team to the Super Bowl while the Chargers were left out of the playoffs.
Let’s not forget to mention that Cincinnati was 4-11-1 in 2020. The Chargers were 7-9 in 2020 and only improved to 9-8 in 2021.
If you’re drafting a team and you need a franchise quarterback, the answer is going to be Burrow of all the players under age 25. He’s a special player who has the “it factor” that can’t be measured by numbers (though to be fair, Burrow is still putting up impressive numbers).
The national media seems to have an odd infatuation with Herbert. Maybe that will change in 2022 if Burrow gets the Bengals back to the Super Bowl.
Featured image via Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK