After becoming the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow will now shoulder the burden of leading the franchise back to winning seasons. However, if history is any indicator, that could take some time.
Barring a surprise, Burrow will be the starting quarterback for the Bengals in Week 1. So, if he wants to get Cincinnati back on the winning side of things, he’ll have to do something that not many other rookie quarterbacks have been able to accomplish.
According to NFL.com, 50 NFL quarterbacks have started at least eight games in their rookie season since 2000. Of that number, just 13 have helped orchestrate a winning season. That comes out to just 26 percent.
The last rookie quarterback to engineer a dramatic turnaround for his team was Dak Prescott with the Dallas Cowboys in 2016. Following a 4-12 season in 2015, Prescott and the Cowboys went 13-3 and won the NFC East in 2016. The difference there is that Dallas did have some talent in 2015, but the problem was that it started four different players at quarterback. Three of those players were Matt Cassel, Kellen Moore, and Brandon Weeden. The Bengals may have more problems than Burrow can cover up by himself.
Not only is it rare for a rookie quarterback to be part of a winning team, but it’s also uncommon for the No. 1 overall pick to be on a winning team as a rookie. As NFL.com points out, the last player to accomplish that feat was Jadeveon Clowney with the Houston Texans in 2014.
Because the Bengals went 2-14 in 2019, Burrow could come in and immediately improve the team’s record but still wind up with a losing rookie season. ESPN’s Football Power Index thinks that’s exactly what will happen this fall.
According to the 2020 FPI model, the Bengals are predicted to win 5.6 games and lose 10.3 games. They have a 7.9 percent chance of making the playoffs, a 1.1 percent chance of winning the division, a 0.1 percent chance of making the Super Bowl, and a 0.0 percent chance of winning the big game.