CINCINNATI — When the Bengals selected Joe Burrow with the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, they were hoping to land a quarterback that could lead their franchise for the next decade.
The early indications looked promising, as the 24-year-old completed 65.3% of his passes for 2,688 yards, 13 touchdowns and five interceptions in 10 games.
The Bengals got it right with Burrow, but they also added another promising piece to the puzzle in the second-round.
Wide receiver Tee Higgins had a great rookie season. He finished with 67 receptions for 908 yards and six touchdowns, despite playing with three different quarterbacks.
With Burrow and Higgins holding down the fort, the Bengals had the No. 1 rookie class in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus.
"Cincinnati fielded the second most valuable first-round rookie and the second most valuable second-round rookie," PFF Analyst Anthony Treash wrote. "And Joe Burrow, whom they selected first overall, was on pace to be the most valuable rookie in the entire class this year before suffering a season-ending knee injury in Week 11.
Burrow's rookie campaign was nothing short of incredible, given the situation that he was thrust into. Yes, his deep ball wasn’t a strong suit as it was in his college days, and he also took a few too many sacks—something the Bengals QB admitted himself—but he was exceptional in the stable areas of play.
As expected, the 2020 first overall pick showed off his pinpoint accuracy on non-deep throws, finishing sixth among his peers in passing grade on throws up to 19 yards downfield. Burrow also cracked the top 10 in negatively graded throw rate from a clean pocket, finishing second in that metric to only Russell Wilson’s 2012 debut among all rookie quarterbacks since 2010.
While it would have been hard for Cincy to miss on the No. 1 overall pick this year with Burrow there for the taking, hitting on the 33rd overall pick was a much harder endeavor. But we here at PFF agreed with the Bengals' decision to select Tee Higgins, who was 25th on our big board at the time, and Higgins repaid that decision by racking up 908 receiving yards and six scores on 67 catches, earning a 75.9 PFF grade in the process. Before Burrow’s injury, Higgins had teamed up with his classmate for more combined first downs and touchdowns than any other rookie wide receiver in the NFL, with 32 through Week 10."
Treash also offered up some analysis on third-round linebacker Logan Wilson, but Burrow and Higgins stole the show.
The 9-to-85 connection is alive and well in Cincinnati. The duo hopes to build on their rookie season in hopes of making the Bengals a winner once again.
Read the entire PFF article here.
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