The 2020 Cincinnati Bengals will be a team with a lot of question marks. They are a young team with new pieces on both sides of the ball, including their rookie quarterback. Despite their major struggles in 2019, there are several very talented players on the Bengals roster. Though their team success wasn’t there last year, the tide could turn entering 2020. If their young talent can get on the same page during this wacky off-season, the pieces are there for the 2020 Cincinnati Bengals to find success. These three players will be huge contributors to the Bengals this year and are the faces of the franchise entering the new season.
Faces of the 2o2o Cincinnati Bengals
There won’t ever be a quarterback selected with the first overall pick who isn’t a face of the franchise entering his rookie season. That’s no different when it comes to 2019 Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow. Following one of the best seasons we have ever seen in college football, Burrow will look to make his mark in the NFL. He will immediately be thrust into the starting role and assigned with the task of dragging the Bengals out of the basement.
The major concern with Burrow entering his rookie season is the questionable offensive line of the Bengals. That unit had major struggles in 2020. Pair that with the AFC North having some of the top defenses in the NFL, and Burrow could be in for some struggles to start his rookie campaign. T.J. Watt, Myles Garrett, Cameron Heyward, Matt Judon, and Calais Campbell are just some of the spectacular pass rushers that Burrow will be dealing with in 2020. His offensive line will need to give him some help.
Those concerns aside, though, Burrow has all the potential in the world to make an impact right away as a rookie. We saw at LSU how much talent he has at the quarterback position. The Bengals have quietly assembled a solid group of skill position players, too. With the right scheme and improved offensive line play, Burrow will live up to his face of the franchise status as a rookie.
Another Joe lands on our list for the 2020 Cincinnati Bengals. All things considered, Joe Mixon was the best player on one of the worst offenses in the NFL last season. There just wasn’t much talent to go around on the Bengals offense last year, but Mixon was an exception to that statement. Despite his stats being down last season, he is still one of the top 8-10 running backs in the NFL.
The same that was said about Burrow can be said about Mixon. Cincinnati’s offensive line will play a big role in Mixon’s success in 2020. If they can improve, Mixon’s stats will most definitely improve with them. Another important factor to consider is the expectation for the Bengals to have a much better passing offense in 2020. With the additions of rookies Burrow and Tee Higgins and the return of A.J. Green, the team could field a dangerous passing attack this season. When teams have to respect the Bengals’ ability to throw the ball, things could open up for Mixon on the ground. Look for him to have a statistical bounce-back season in 2020.
Defensive tackle Geno Atkins was in a similar position as Mixon in 2019. He was the best player on one of the worst defenses in the NFL. Entering his 11th season, Atkins continues to be one of the best defensive tackles in the league. The eight-time Pro-Bowler hasn’t shown any signs of decline as his age increases. Also like Mixon, Atkins saw a slight drop in production in 2019, but that has more to do with the talent around him than his own abilities. With Atkins drawing the majority of opposing offenses’ attention, it was hard for him to make as many splash plays as usual in 2019.
That said, this is a list for faces of the franchise, not a list for the three best statistical players on the Bengals. Atkins has been a face of the Bengals for multiple seasons now. Ask any opposing head coach who they need to worry about most on the Bengals, and Atkins will always be one of the first players to come to mind. He is one of the team’s captains, too. Atkins is a leader both in the locker room and on the field. He’s an easy player to cheer for and is still arguably the best player on the Bengals entering year 11.