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2020 NFL Draft: Bengals have already made decision on No. 1 pick?

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals have had months to decide the direction they want to go with the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Now with draft day drawing closer, the Bengals have reportedly made a decision on what they will do when they are put on the clock.

According to Pro Football Network’s Tony Pauline, the Bengals are indicating to teams around the league that they will take Joe Burrow with the No. 1 overall selection and it’s now viewed as a foregone conclusion in the NFL.

Rumors have been floated that the Bengals might explore trading down from the spot with another team, given their reported interest in Justin Herbert. While there are some believers within Cincinnati’s front office that like Herbert, per NBC Sports, the front office clearly prefers Burrow.

The Bengals have reportedly been on Burrow for months, viewing him as the future face of their franchise. It’s part of the reason they placed the franchise tag on star receiver A.J. Green and spent aggressively in free agency. Although, speculation leading up to the NFL Combine suggested the former LSU Tigers star might pull an Eli Manning and demand a trade.

Burrow quickly denied the rumors and made it clear he’d love to play for the Bengals. The Ohio native grew up just a few hours away from the Bengals’ facilities and is likely now only weeks away from being the new face of the franchise.

Barring a godfather offer, the Bengals are unlikely to move down from the top pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. While the Dolphins have the assets to make that kind of offer, backed with three first-round picks this year and two next year, they are now viewed as unlikely to move up.

Burrow entered 2019 as a projected Day 3 draft pick with little hype around him entering his final season at LSU. Everything changed during a historic season that saw him break multiple NCAA single-season passing records, take home the Heisman Trophy in a record margin and winning a national championship.

As he now heads to the NFL with scouts comparing him to one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history, the Bengals will certainly be elated to officially draft him on April 23.