Who is Joe Burrow, Cincinnati's No 1 overall draft pick?
By Cameron Hogwood
Last Updated: 07/05/20 1:32pm
Remember the name Joe Burrow, because in 10 years' time NFL fans far and wide will be analysing his success among history's No 1 overall draft picks.
The Cincinnati Bengals resisted temptation to spring a surprise during the most unorthodox of NFL Drafts as they selected LSU quarterback Joe Burrow at No 1 overall. It was always Joe Burrow.
Burrow has barely flinched as the consensus No 1 pick over the last couple of months, shimmering as the centre piece second-year Bengals head coach Zac Taylor will be hoping can re-direct his team.
The ice-cold operator carries quite the CV after an all-but simple rise to prominence, catapulting his way to the top of the board with perhaps the greatest season from a quarterback in college football history.
After months of media debate and speculation, the Bengals put their fans at ease in the early hours of Friday morning by making it official. But where did Burrow come from?
Who is Joe Burrow?
- Full name: Joseph Lee Burrow
- Age: 23
- Born: Ames, Iowa
- College: Ohio State (2015-2017), LSU (2018-2019)
Burrow has football in his blood. His father Jimmy was drafted by the Green Bay Packers as a defensive back in 1976, before going on to play for the Montreal Alouettes, Calgary Stampeders and Ottawa Rough Riders in the Canadian Football League. He later moved into college football coaching, his longest spell coming with Ohio State where he worked from 2005 until retirement in 2018.
Having attended Athens High School in The Plains, Ohio, Burrow committed to Ohio State University as a four-star recruit in 2014. Burrow had not only flourished on the football field in high school, but also on the basketball court as he was named first-team all-state at point guard in his senior year.
Burrow redshirted his freshman year and featured in just six games, finishing 22 of 28 passing for 226 yards and two touchdowns. He played in just four games the next year, recording seven passes for 61 yards as Dwayne Haskins, now of the Washington Redskins, asserted himself as starter.
That prompted Burrow to transfer to LSU in May 2018, the junior starter leading the Tigers to a 10-3 record and victory over UCF in the Fiesta Bowl, finishing the season 219 of 379 passing for 2,894 yards, 16 touchdowns and five interceptions. He also rushed for 399 yards and seven touchdowns off 128 carries.
Few could have foreseen his explosion in 2019 as Burrow inspired the Tigers to the College National Championship title against Clemson, during which he threw or 463 passing yards and five touchdowns, as well as running in another. He finished the season with 5,671 passing yards for an FBS single-season record 60 touchdowns, with his individual efforts recognised in December when he won the Heisman Trophy with a record 90.7 per cent of all first-place votes available.
Burrow also earned unanimous All-American honours as well as picking up the Walter Camp award, the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm award, the Davey O'Brien award and the Manning award.
What everyone's saying...
Burrow had a star-studded supporting case in his senior year at LSU, including fellow draft prospects in wide receiver Justin Jefferson and star sophomore wideout Ja'Marr Chase. Nonetheless, his talent still burst through upon deeper analysis from NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah.
"Now, it is tricky to evaluate both Joe Burrow and Tua because of the amount of talent that they have around them, so the way I did it is I went back and I watched them against the best teams they played against," Jeremiah told reporters in a conference call.
"I watched all their snaps under pressure, and when you do that, there's a decided difference between Joe Burrow and everybody else in the whole draft. He was phenomenal when he was under pressure and he was phenomenal when they were playing against teams with similar talent."
Besides consistent accuracy and remarkable composure in the pocket, Burrow also offers proven leadership skills both on and off the field.
"He's self-assured and plays with competitive toughness that teammates will gravitate toward instantly," said NFL Analyst Lance Zierlein in his overview for NFL.com.
"He's a rhythm passer who benefited from tempo and scheme, but his vision, touch and read recognition made the offense special.
"He buys time for himself inside the pocket, but creates explosive, off-schedule plays outside of it with his arm or legs. He throws with staggering precision and timing."
Discussing Burrow, LSU head coach Ed Oregon told ESPN: "Joe is probably the most focused football player I've ever been around. We gave him the team, along with other guys. They took leadership."
New start in Cincinnati
It will be a fitting Ohio homecoming for Burrow as the new face of a franchise that is eager to return to the playoffs following a four-year absence.
Burrow thrives on the big stage and arrives with a natural ability to rally those around him, which is what his head coach will need in order to kick-start his tenure.
2020 NFL Draft - top 10 picks
|(1) Joe Burrow||Cincinnati Bengals|
|(2) Chase Young||Washington Redskins|
|(3) Jeff Okudah||Detroit Lions|
|(4) Andrew Thomas||New York Giants|
|(5) Tua Tagovailoa||Miami Dolphins|
|(6) Justin Herbert||Los Angeles Chargers|
|(7) Derrick Brown||Carolina Panthers|
|(8) Isaiah Simmons||Arizona Cardinals|
|(9) CJ Henderson||Jacksonville Jaguars|
|(10) Jedrick Wills||Cleveland Browns|
The Bengals finished with a league-worst 2-14 record last season, 19th in passing offense with 228.3 yards per game and 25th in rushing offense with 94.8 yards per game.
That was without seven-time Pro Bowl wide receiver A.J. Green, who missed the season through injury before being franchise-tagged this offseason as a major attraction for Burrow.
Cincinnati were notably busier than usual in free agency, adding former Dallas Cowboys offensive guard Xavier Su'a-Filo on a three-year deal as well as bringing in defensive reinforcements.
This will be Burrow's team and the start of what the Bengals faithful be hoping is an exciting new chapter for the organisation.