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Bengals: Pump the Breaks on the Joe Burrow Comparisons

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Heisman winner Joe Burrow has been compared to legendary athletes, even to some outside of football. Those comparisons could be daunting for Burrow and create unrealistic early expectations.

The Cincinnati Bengals are eight days away from selecting Joe Burrow with the first overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft. The LSU standout is set to take the reigns of a franchise desperately in need of revitalized hope. Coming off quite possibly the greatest season ever had by a college football player, he has drawn many comparisons to legendary athletes across the sports world.

By November of his Heisman season, Burrow was being compared to Tom Brady. After LSU’s dominating performance in the 2020 NCAA Championship, his name was put in the same sentence as Joe Montana. Earlier this week, former Bengals’ quarterback Boomer Esiason intertwined sports worlds as he compared Burrow to another Ohio hero, Lebron James.

“I equate him to when LeBron James came out of high school his senior year and the Cavaliers had the top pick… He grew up in the shadow of Cleveland and brought them the championship.”

Finally, Hall-of-Fame executive Gil Brandt dropped his top 150-player big board for the upcoming draft. It’s no surprise that Burrow tops his list, but what he said about him could have Bengals’ fans jumping for joy.

“Burrow reminds you of Peyton Manning. Burrow is faster than Manning, but his arm strength is equal — it’s good but not great.”

Following the comparisons to Tom Brady in March, Burrow fired back at media members for creating unnecessary pressure.

“Please don’t compare me to the best player of all time. Let me do my own thing. Don’t do that to me. Please.”

While Bengals’ fans across the world salivate as each comparison files in, those comparisons could be creating unprecedented pressure for Joe Burrow and the Bengals. Even though he is coming off of the greatest college football season of all time, he’s is not invincible. He has not even taken a snap in the NFL and he is being compared almost exclusively to Hall-of-Famers and some of the greatest of all time. Bengals’ fans should proceed with cautious hope leading into the 2020 NFL season.

Colin Cowherd jumped in on the conversation by saying that Burrow doesn’t look like a physical specimen like the legends he is being compared to. However, to say that all these legends are “physical specimens” is simply not true.

Has he ever seen Tom Brady’s combine? Has he seen Peyton Manning run the 40-yard dash? He also mentions Manning’s height as his legendary trait but he’s less than two inches taller than Burrow. Cowherd has pestered the Bengals’ and pleaded for Burrow to take his talents elsewhere, so these comments should come as no surprise.

Between Cowherd’s comments and Boomer Esiason‘s comparisons, there is a middle ground of hope and expectations that Bengals’ and sports fans should have for the expected number one pick.

Yes, Joe Burrow is a fantastic prospect and could do amazing things for the Bengals’ franchise, but it is unfair and unnecessary to have these great expectations from the get-go. When you’re in a position to draft the best quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck, you’re allowed to and definitely should have hope, but remember the Bengals are selecting first overall for a reason.

 

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Atlanta Falcons cannot afford to miss on early defensive draft picks

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With the loss of a few quality defensive players in free agency, the Atlanta Falcons must have defense as their number one priority in the NFL Draft if they plan to compete in 2020.

The NFL Draft just over a week away, as we’ll finally get to watch something new that is sports-related, rather than just reruns of games such as Super Bowl LI (luckily didn’t air in the Atlanta area). And with that, this draft specifically is huge for the Atlanta Falcons if they want to rebound from the back to back 7-9 campaigns.

This class is deep with defensive talent in both the front seven and secondary, and the Falcons need to add high impact players early.

Unfortunately, Atlanta’s front office has failed to adequately address defense early in the past 2 drafts. Let’s look at the defensive players chosen in the draft over the past 2 years:

2019

2018

Out of those six, only Oluokun and Cominsky had a PFF grade of 60.0 or better last season. Cominsky actually graded out at 82.1, finishing 23rd among all edge defenders, despite not having many traditional stats. He is definitely expected to have an “increased role” in 2020, as per Dan Quinn. Oluokun only had a grade of 62.7, but he showed some flashes of brilliance and is primed to take over a starting gig with the departure of De’Vondre Campbell in free agency.

The two “early picks” in the past 2 years have been Oliver and Senat, the former having two forgettable seasons, and the latter literally being forgotten by the coaching staff despite showing promise.

You can even look back at 2017, where the Falcons first two picks were Takk McKinley and Duke Riley. Duke Riley isn’t even with the team anymore after being shipped off to Philadelphia, and although Takk has had some great plays, he has constantly battled shoulder injuries as well as being picked over guys like Tre’Davious White and T.J. Watt.

The Falcons did make some good moves in free agency, such as signing Dante Fowler Jr. and resigning some good depth players like Tyeler Davison and Blidi Wreh-Wilson. However, they also lost guys like Adrian Clayborn, Desmond Trufant, and De’Vondre Campbell. This is what makes this draft so crucial, and the Falcons have to focus on defensive talent in the first 3 rounds specifically.

Next: NFL draft night can’t come soon enough for Atlanta Falcons nation

Arthur Blank has said on record that he expects the team to return to the playoffs in 2020, but for that to happen, the front office has to nail their first three picks to reinforce a disappointing defense.

 

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AFC East Roundup: What to know about Miami Dolphins heading into NFL Draft

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We had a chance to talk with Brian Miller of PhinPhanatic about the Miami Dolphins offseason and what to expect heading into the 2020 NFL Draft.

The AFC East is shifting with the departure of the Tom Brady and the division is likely going to be as competitive as it has been in nearly two decades. Recently, we had a chance to talk with Brian Miller to get insight about all things Miami Dolphins from the Bills’ latest signing to how the offseason has been and what to expect in the NFL Draft.

1. What can you tell about Bills fans about their recent signing of Evan Boehm? Is this a player Dolphins are going to miss?

I like Boehm. I actually was surprised that the Dolphins didn’t target him with another one year deal this off-season. While he wasn’t a dedicated starter last year, I thought he did well when put in. He has some growing to do and the Dolphins simply need to get better along the offensive line. Boehm was a fill in it appears so it’s hard to say where his ceiling is.

2. What free agent signing by the Dolphins do you think will have the biggest impact?

Kyle Van Noy is my favorite signing this off-season. He knows the Brian Flores defense well and I think he becomes the defensive leader on that side of the ball. He has terrific range and and can play well in coverage and attacking the passer. He also does well with setting the edge. He is obviously familiar with the AFC East so this is a rare inter-division signing that makes a lot of

sense.

3. Who do you think is going to be the starting QB for the Miami Dolphins in Week 1?

Ryan Fitzpatrick is the starter for 2020 and I don’t believe any QB drafted will change that. He took the team on his back last year and will at least start the first six to eight games before the job is handed to Josh Rosen or an incoming rookie. The QB situation in Miami is odd as we are not sure what they plan to do at the position.

4. Who are some draft prospects that you have seen that you think are perfect fits for the Miami Dolphins?

I really like Isaiah Simmons who more than likely will not be a Dolphins draft pick at five. I also really like Mechi Becton but he too will be gone by the time the Dolphins select at 18. Safety Xavier McKinney is a player I have been paying attention to. He fills a big need for the Dolphins after the release of Reshad Jones and also fits in well with Brian Flores who covets players in the secondary. I think this is a player that Miami will try and draft with one of their first round picks. The only thing that would make me think otherwise is that they have such huge needs along the offensive line.

5. What are realistic expectations for the Dolphins in the second season under head coach Brian Flores? 

I think the Miami Dolphins will be better than five wins but we are talking about 7 or 8 wins at best. Some predict the Dolphins to only win two games but I don’t see that as reasonable. The Dolphins are still young and they had a lot of coaching changes this off-season including both coordinators and a bunch of assistants as well.

Next: Bills start with cornerback in recent 7-Round Mock Draft

I think this off-season situation with the quarantine stuff is going to have a big impact as well. Flores is a coach that players like to play for but if they can’t be with him this off-season to learn what he expects from them, it might be difficult to find a rhythm early in the season.

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5 prospects the Panthers don’t want to see in the NFC South

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(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) Yetur Gross-Matos

The Carolina Panthers have their work cut out in the NFC South next season, which could be heightened with a number of new draft arrivals.

Things look bleak for the Carolina Panthers in the NFC South next season. All three opposing teams have real playoff ambitions and it has left the organization as something of an afterthought.

The New Orleans Saints have a powerhouse roster that has been significantly strengthened by the free-agent signing of wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders. Sean Payton now has an embarrassment of riches to call upon for what could be Drew Brees’ final season as a professional.

Legendary quarterback, Tom Brady’s arrival within the division has also put the cat among the pigeons, so to speak. He hand-picked the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a franchise he could potentially take to the next level and it is not hard to see why.

They have a strong defense, a decent offensive line, and a phenomenal wide receiver tandem in Chris Godwin and Mike Evans. All signs point to the Bucs’ making a real run at things next season.

Although the Atlanta Falcons flattered to deceive once again last season, they are expected to turn things around quickly and this will represent another problem for the Panthers if the franchisee wants to improve on their 5-11 record.

With the potential of some promising college recruits entering the division in 2020, it could have serious ramifications on Carolina’s chances of turning their fortunes around.

Here are five players that the Panthers do not want to see end up in the NFC South next season.

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