One year ago, the Cincinnati Bengals were sitting atop the NFL race to land a franchise quarterback in the NFL Draft, and they didn't overthink it. They made the decision to select Joe Burrow with the first overall pick and Burrow was off to the races, every bit as advertised coming off of what many view as the best collegiate football season ever at LSU. Unfortunately for Burrow, misfortune struck in what would've likely been a Rookie of the Year season, when he suffered a devastating knee injury in Week 11 against the Washington Football Team -- tearing both his ACL and MCL as well as damaging his PCL and meniscus -- ending his season on the spot.
He's long been on the mend, however, and it appears he remains on track to return to the field in 2021. This is something Burrow himself alluded to in January and, in March, head coach Zac Taylor is doubling down on the optimism.
"I know that he's on pace to do all the things that we were hoping he'd do," he said, via Tyler Dragon of the Cincinnati Enquirer.
You can add Bengals director of player personnel Duke Tobin in as one who loves what he's seeing from Burrow.
"The good news is with Joe, what I've seen around here is he's attacking it full speed and looks great and so it's been very positive seeing him fight back," Tobin said. "It looks very positive for the future and for this coming season for Joe."
The Bengals struggled to a 2-7-1 record with Burrow under center, but it most certainly wasn't because of the Heisman Trophy winner, who passed for 2,688 yards and 13 touchdowns to five interceptions in his first 10 NFL starts.
He made a rookie mistake or two, but that was completely expected, but when a rookie QB throws for more than 300 yards in five of their first 10 games -- including topping the 400-yard mark on one occasion -- you have to take a hard look at the team's ineptitude in other areas (ahem, defense). Expect Cincinnati to work feverishly at resolving that this offseason, in the hopes of giving Burrow what he needs to start flipping those losses into wins going forward.