Bengals director of player personnel Duke Tobin disputed ESPN's report that Cincinnati would not trade the No. 1 pick in the draft, telling the team website on Monday that the report was "news to him."
"I don't know that any decision has been made for what we're going to do in April," Tobin told Bengals.com. "We're early in the process. We certainly haven't had any meetings to determine that at this point. Those will be meetings we'll have as we go through the process."
On Sunday, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that the Bengals have no intention of trading the top draft position, citing league sources. Cincinnati, which went a league-worst 2-14 in 2019, holds the right to the top draft slot for the first time since 2003.
Most of the discussion has centered on one player: Joe Burrow. The quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner led LSU to an undefeated season and a national championship in his second and final season with the Tigers.
ESPN's Mel Kiper has Burrow ranked as the No. 2 overall prospect in April's draft, and ESPN's Todd McShay projects that he will go to Cincinnati with the No. 1 pick.
With the Bengals coaching this week's Senior Bowl, the franchise was hopeful that the quarterback would make the trip to Mobile, Alabama. However, Burrow informed Senior Bowl executive director Jim Nagy that he will not attend the event that started less than a week after LSU won the national title.
Tobin, who is considered the team's de facto general manager, told the team website that he respects Burrow's decision and understand the thought process, considering the long season.
"We'll have a lot of opportunity to get to know him through the process," Tobin told Bengals.com. "We feel very comfortable by the time we have to make a decision in the draft on him and the other players as well."