Nick Wright: Unfair to Expect Joe Burrow to Be Cincinnati's Savior

Nick Wright
Nick Wright /

When Joe Burrow's name is called from Roger Goodell's basement next Thursday night, it will be the most exciting thing to happen to the Cincinnati Bengals since... well, in a long time. The pressure on Burrow will be enormous; while even the most optimistic of Bengals fans are likely tempering expectations for his rookie season given the quality of roster around him, he's supposed to be the talent that leads them out of the darkness they've resided in since 1991, when they last won a playoff game.

As the first overall pick, Burrow will be burdened with high expectations. It's just part of the deal. But Nick Wright believes viewing Burrow as the franchise's savior is unfair because one man can only do so much, especially when it comes to football and the recent historical impact of first overall selections:

Similar to what Max Kellerman argued in regards to the dominance of the Patriots' dynasty versus the Bulls', the foundation of Wright's point of view resides in how football is a game that cannot be drastically affected by one player. Burrow can't be the LeBron James of Cincinnati because, even if he is indeed a similarly transcendent talent, he can only control so much as a quarterback. More goes into wins in the NFL than elite quarterback play, although that obviously makes everything else much easier. Patrick Mahomes is that kind of talent and he went tenth overall and sat on the bench for a year before becoming the king of Kansas City.

Given the volume of players available, the quality of first overall selections is also watered down a bit. In most NBA drafts, there's one superior talent that stands head-and-shoulders above the rest. That's much rarer in the NFL. Just this decade, there were probably only two no-doubt-about-it first overall picks-- Cam Newton and Andrew Luck. Compare that to the NBA, when the only draft this decade that didn't have a consensus top pick was in 2013.

Burrow will and should have sky-high expectations because that's what comes along with being the best quarterback prospect in the draft, coming off an all-time great college season. But he can't transform his new organization overnight. Burrow may yet save Cincinnati, but to expect him to do it anytime soon is setting everyone up for disappointment.