The general expectation is that LSU quarterback Joe Burrow will be the first pick in the upcoming 2020 NFL Draft. Burrow is coming off of arguably the most impressive season in college football history, winning the Heisman Trophy and rewriting the record books on the way to leading his Tigers to a historic 15-0 record that culminated in a national championship.
So assuming the Cincinnati Bengals keep the No. 1 pick, what will they be getting if they take Burrow?
Joe Burrow Draft Profile
Burrow took off as a senior, going from beaten out at Ohio State to winning the Heisman at LSU. The NFL-caliber physical traits are there. He’s a good athlete with a bit of a classic West Coast QB skill set. He’s accurate and outstanding throwing on the move, mapping the moving bodies when he’s on the run and consistently making plays out of structure. He is intelligent and adept at diagnosing defenses in the pre-snap phase, thriving in the quick-strike game. He proved adept at full-field reads at LSU, running a system that has a lot in common with NFL spread offenses. He’s also tough, willing to hang in the pocket and take a beating. But his best attribute might be the habit of staying calm and moving subtly in muddy pockets, a trait present in all elite passers. And, ultimately, it’s tough to argue against the production he had in 2019, especially in carving up defenses like Alabama, Oklahoma and Clemson.
His arm talent is middling at best for an NFL starter, and making those far-hash throws could be a challenge at the next level. He was surrounded by an immense amount of talent in Baton Rouge, playing under fairly ideal circumstances, and some might wonder why he was a one-year wonder. He also needs to do a better job taking care of himself; he takes an unnecessary hit or two every week.
Burrow was overwhelmingly good in 2019, enough for him to go from mid-round prospect to legitimate No. 1 overall pick. So many of the subtleties in his game — accuracy, movement within the pocket, field-reading while on the move — translate to potential stardom at the next level.
Final Grade: Top-5 pick