Bengals secure No. 1 overall 2020 NFL Draft pick, how that affects 49ers

ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 26: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announces a pick by the Cincinnati Bengals during the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft at AT&T Stadium on April 26, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 26: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announces a pick by the Cincinnati Bengals during the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft at AT&T Stadium on April 26, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

The San Francisco 49ers can actually pay close attention to what the Cincinnati Bengals do with the first pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, which has a notable trickle-down effect beyond Round 1.

For the first time in what seems like a long time, the San Francisco 49ers aren’t going to be picking early in the NFL Draft.

Instead, the 1-14 Cincinnati Bengals have locked up the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 draft by losing to the Miami Dolphins in Week 16. And by doing so, the Bengals will almost assuredly select LSU quarterback Joe Burrow with the pick, even though one could easily argue the vast majority of Cincinnati’s problems fall on the defensive side of the ball, making Ohio State EDGE Chase Young the smarter pick.

Burrow will be the Bengals’ heir apparent to their longtime franchise QB, Andy Dalton, whose future is now totally in question. But Cincinnati grabbing Burrow No. 1 will have a noticeable trickle-down effect, affecting what the 49ers will do with their first selection at the tail end of Round 1.

More on that in a second, but first the list of teams likely on the hunt for a quarterback this upcoming April.

Our friends over at Phin Phinatic laid out a list of teams possibly on the hunt for a quarterback this offseason. But to recap, the Bengals are easily on that list. So are the Miami Dolphins, who likely aren’t looking to make Josh Rosen their franchise guy. The Los Angeles Chargers and New England Patriots could potentially seek long-term replacements for Philip Rivers and Tom Brady, respectively. The Carolina Panthers appear to be moving on from quarterback Cam Newton this offseason, while Kyle Allen all but fell apart in the second half of the season.

The Oakland Raiders, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Chicago Bears are potential quarterback-needing wild cards, too.

But a big kicker and question mark is the Pittsburgh Steelers. Like Los Angeles and New England, Pittsburgh is seeking out a long-term replacement for Ben Roethlisberger, and the Steelers already had a chance to do some auditions this season. The only problem, though, is neither Mason Rudolph nor Devlin Hodges showcased anything suggesting they’d be equipped to succeed Roethlisberger.

Before jumping into how all this affects the 49ers, let’s run down some prospect-quarterback names worth watching in the first two rounds of the 2020 NFL Draft:

  • Joe Burrow, LSU
  • Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
  • Justin Herbert, Oregon
  • Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma
  • Jordan Love, Utah State
  • Jake Fromm, Georgia
  • Jacob Eason, Washington

It doesn’t take too much to do the math and see there are more teams in need of a quarterback than prospects available early. And another caveat is the trend quarterback values always increase in the months and weeks counting down to draft day.

Just ask the New York Giants, who grabbed quarterback Daniel Jones at No. 6 overall earlier this year.

Enter the 49ers, whose draft positioning isn’t close to being set yet, but will wind up happening towards the tail end of Round 1. After that, the Niners aren’t scheduled to pick again until Round 5, having dished off their picks in Rounds 2 through 4 for EDGE Dee Ford and wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders.

A trade-down scenario seems strong for general manager John Lynch, moving out of the first round and acquiring some additional mid-round picks in the process. The Bengals grabbing Burrow No. 1 overall keeps him away from other top-drafting, quarterback-needy teams like the Dolphins, Chargers and Panthers. And it wouldn’t be shocking at all to see the first round feature a run on signal-callers.

But the Steelers are a team to watch here. They dished out their first-round NFL Draft pick in 2020 to the Dolphins for safety Minkah Fitzpatrick. That was a nice move, sure, but the lack of progression from Rudolph and Devlin creates problems. If the Steelers want to get in on the first two tiers of quarterbacks in the draft, they’ll likely have to trade into Round 1.

Pittsburgh isn’t slated to pick until No. 52 overall.

This isn’t to suggest the Steelers will move up into Round 1 with the 49ers, but it’s a possibility. One made possible simply by Cincinnati’s pending decision to go with Burrow No. 1 overall, creating the eventual run on quarterbacks early, leading to the 49ers having a significant amount of power with their top pick in Round 1.

dark. Next. 5 crucial takeaways from 49ers' Week 16 win vs. Rams

The 2020 NFL Draft kicks off on Thursday, April 23 from Las Vegas, Nevada.