The Cincinnati Bengals own the first overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft, and at this point it seems a given that they’ll select LSU’s Joe Burrow with that pick atop the draft. Not surprisingly, Bengals coaches are already talking up the Heisman winner.
Here’s quarterbacks coach Andy Van Pelt gushing over how Burrow looks heading into the spring: “He definitely checks off a lot of boxes early on in the evaluation process,” Van Pelt told the team’s official website. “He obviously looks like a very intriguing guy.”
You don’t have to be an NFL scout to know Burrow is heading into the draft as hot as anyone who’s declared in a long time. He set numerous big-time records during the 2019 season and capped off his collegiate career with one of the most legendary title game performances in recent memory. Playing through torn cartilage in his ribs for the second half, he racked up 521 yards and six touchdowns from scrimmage as LSU won the title.
Looking ahead to how he might translate from college to the pros, Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan praised Burrow for his pocket awareness and accuracy.
“He’s got natural pocket feel. He feels it,” Callahan said. “It seems like he never takes his eyes off down the field. He extends the play really, really well. He’s a lot faster than you might assume when you see him running away from all those SEC guys. He’s got incredible up-field accuracy. The ball hardly ever hits the ground in a game, which is rare. He just naturally puts the ball in places where those guys can make plays.”
Speaking of accuracy, Burrow’s 2019 campaign showcased that trait in jaw-dropping fashion. The young man completed 76.3 percent of his passes for 5,671 yards, 60 touchdowns, six interceptions, averaging a stunning 10.8 yards per attempt average and 12.5 adjusted passing yards per attempt.
The Bengals cannot possibly screw up this first-overall pick, can they? They seem to be already tipping their hand that Burrow is coming to Cincinnati. Whether they can help him become a dynamic pro quarterback is another matter entirely, and it’s one we’ll be paying attention to for a long time.