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01/25/2020 | News release | Distributed by Public on 01/25/2020 14:46

Bengals' Taylor on QBs: 'I want a winner, that's it'

The Bengals are on the clock. How long they'll remain there in earnest is the question. The front office has maintained it has yet to make a decision on what it will do with the first pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

The expectation, of course, is Cincinnati will draft a quarterback. After losing more games than any team in the NFL in 2019, rookie coach Zac Taylor is very clear on what he's looking for from that position.

'A guy that elevates his teammates, accurate, has the best understanding of the playbook of anyone on the roster and a winner,' Taylor said, per Tyler Dragon of the Cincinnati Enquirer. 'I want a winner, that's it.'

That sure sounds like an apt description of Joe Burrow, the presumptive top pick in April. The Ohio native didn't simply steer the ship in LSU's 15-0 campaign, he was the catalyst. Burrow passed for an FBS record 60 touchdowns and SEC record 5,671 yards, all while completing 76.3 percent of his throws.

'He certainly had a great season,' Taylor said. 'We're still going through the process of evaluating him and a lot of the other guys that are worthy of those high picks. But to go undefeated, win the national championship, be the leader that he is, that stuff is really impressive.'

Taylor is getting a close look at some of his other options this week while coaching the South team at the Senior Bowl. His quarterbacks include Oregon's Justin Herbert, Oklahoma's Jalen Hurts and Colorado's Steven Montez. Burrow, whose season ended less than two weeks ago, declined an invitation.

'Well I certainly understand. The guy just played a full season. All those LSU guys did,' Taylor said. 'We are always looking for any advantage we can get in any player in this process. Any chance we can get to be around him early in January as opposed to the combine is always great, but you certainly understand when guys choose not to play.

'There's still plenty of time to get to know all the players in the draft and before April rolls around.'

The Bengals will also use that time to determine what to do with longtime starter QB Andy Dalton, who still has a year left on his contract. His 70 wins are the second-most in franchise history. But his nine-year run in Cincinnati has yet to net a playoff victory.

The last time the Bengals held the first overall pick, they were similarly coming off a 2-14 season with a veteran starter in Jon Kitna but opted to draft Carson Palmer anyway. Then they started winning more. Will history repeat itself?