What a difference a year makes. Joe Burrows played at Ohio State for his first two seasons and never was better than the No. 2 quarterback. In 2017, he played behind Dwayne Haskins and J.T. Barrett while only throwing eleven passes. Burrow red-shirted as a freshman and actually graduated from OSU in just three years with a degree in consumer and family financial services. That made him eligible to play as a graduate transfer to LSU.
Burrow was named as the starting quarterback at LSU as a redshirt junior and led them to a 10-3 record including a No. 6 ranking on the final AP Poll that year. He entered his redshirt senior season with only 18 career touchdown passes. He already threw for 17 scores by his fourth game. He would end with one of the greatest single-season performances of all time. His 60 passing touchdowns and 5,671 passing touchdowns set all-time SEC records. He threw for more than 320 yards in 14 consecutive games. He accounted for more than three touchdowns in over half his games.
While some top players consider not playing in their final college playoff game to avoid potential injury, Burrows did play. He passed for 463 yards and six touchdowns in the 2020 National Championship as the MVP. Until 2019, Burrows had a minimal track record. Twelve months later, he won everything. Everything. Heisman, national championship, almost all single-season records of any note.
Weight: 216 pounds
40 time: 4.76 seconds
As if his prolific scoring and yardage and wins were not enough. He only threw for six interceptions all year. He owns one of the most dramatic year-to-year turnarounds in the history of all sports.
- A mature 23 years old
- Highly intelligent, great football IQ
- Consistently rises to the occasion
- Precise passer that throws a very catchable ball
- Deadly accurate even with small windows
- Great at reading defenses, setting up passes
- A capable runner that can break a long gainer with his legs
- Big frame lets him stand tough in the pocket and is hard to bring down
- Equally effective in the pocket or on the run
- Superior anticipation and sets up receivers to be successful
- Won nearly every possible award for his 2019 season
- Only one very spectacular season
- Arm strength considered only average
- Less accurate outside the numbers
- Needs a “wide open” scheme to shine
- Took some unnecessary sacks waiting on the play to develop
Burrows is the consensus best quarterback in the draft and the favorite to be the first overall pick (currently the Bengals). That isn’t to say that it is not possible that he is not the first pick or that someone like Tua Tagovailoa couldn’t end up as the guy but Burrows won’t fall more than a spot or two or be less than the second quarterback taken. Heading into the NFL draft, the expectation is that the Bengals will select him with their first overall pick.
He will be a Day One starter where ever he goes. Aside from his prolific senior season, Burrows is very smart and a lock to be an asset for any organization. While other top players could have various scrapes with the law or questions surrounding their maturity, that doesn’t exist for Burrow. When he accepted the Heisman Trophy, his acceptance speech resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars being donated to a food pantry in his Ohio hometown.
The rookie needs to end up in an offense that throws – a lot. The Bengals enter their second season under ex-Rams QB coach Zac Taylor who calls the plays. No doubt, selecting a premier rookie quarterback would result in molding the scheme to Burrow’s strengths.
The Bengals roster will undergo change via free agency and the NFL draft but they franchised A.J. Green to ensure that he and Tyler Boyd can offer their quarterback with an above average pair of receivers. Rookie quarterbacks rarely offer much in fantasy terms, but none of them are coming off as wildly productive of a season. Like any player expected to be the first overall pick, Burrows will be expected to step in and make a difference from the start. His long-term expectations are even higher.