Cream City Central 2020 NFL Prospects: Joe Burrow


This is the first of the Cream City Central Prospects project for the 2020 NFL Draft.  Here, we will analyze and rank each player by position and predict where they will fall in the draft.  We are approaching bowl season and that means we are one step closer to draft day. This week, we will start with the Quarterback position.  

Our first prospect is LSU Quarterback Joe Burrow.  The Ohio State transfer has certainly opened the eyes of the college football world and has found himself both at the top of the Heisman picture and the 2020 NFL Draft board.  




There really is not much that Joe Burrow cannot do.  The way he stays patient in the pocket and adapts perfectly under pressure is something quite a few quarterbacks tend to struggle with, especially at the NFL level.  Burrow has thrown for 4,366 yards and 44 touchdowns thus far. He has very impressive arm talent and has improved every week he steps on the field.  

The two games that impressed me the most was at Texas, where he put on a show, throwing for 471 yards and 4 touchdowns.  The second game was against guys like Jonathan Greenard, David Reese and that loaded Florida Gators defense. The Gators are one of the top defenses in the SEC and Burrow threw for 293 yards and 3 touchdowns.  For him to put up numbers like this against two talented top 25 teams shows that he is ready to play at the pro level and has proved himself to be a franchise quarterback. Burrow’s draft stock continues to rise and he could find himself being the number one pick in the 2020 NFL Draft in April.  


With Joe “Burreaux” Burrow, it seems like the media have a star in the making. Here is a guy who rose up from underneath the shadow of Tua Tagovailoa, who seemingly dominated the college football quarterback talk just a year ago. Burrow is a quarterback that will make you pay. He is calm and collected, someone who has a rocket of an arm and is really talented in the pocket. 

What impresses me the most is his poise in big games. When playing Alabama, he was able to carry the load of such a big game, throwing for almost 400 yards and 4 touchdowns. I haven’t seen a fanbase this excited about a quarterback for a very long time.  


In 2019 Joe Burrow has set himself apart from the rest of the quarterback prospects. Burrow has taken this year to burst onto the scene showing amazing accuracy. Burrow has gashed every defense he’s played this year by putting the ball on the button and putting his playmakers in the best position to make something happen. 

Burrow has also proven his mental hold on the game is strong as well. Maybe it was from the 3 years of sitting at Ohio State, but Burrow has a clear fire under him. He has a drive that you just can’t teach. He’s also showing an advanced ability to read defenses and take what they give him.

The game that Burrow announced he had arrived was on the road against Texas. Burrow went 31/39 for 471 yards and 4 touchdowns. He went on the road and won a shootout against a top-10 team in the country at that time. This is when the nation started to notice and he has yet to slow down.     


Much like Kyler Murray and Baker Mayfield from the last two years, Joe Burrow is having a great year on a great team to become a top NFL prospect. Unlike Murray and Mayfield, scouts can’t look at him height-wise and instantly find negatives, because he’s 6’4”. Burrow also managed to put up his insane numbers and gash defenses in the SEC, which is the most similar to NFL play. 

Arguably, on paper alone, Burrow is the best QB prospect in the draft, but what makes him more valuable than other prospects are his intangibles. Despite LSU being a historically defensive centric team where the QB position is irrelevant, they have only went two games all year where they scored less than 42 points. A few of those games (Florida, Texas, Alabama) were closely contested shootouts, in big national games, where the QB’s play mattered the most. Burrow withstood the national pressure, an assortment great defenses, and conquered all who challenged.  

Burrow’s big game that set him as an arguable number one prospect was the Alabama game. Alabama and Nick Saban is this generation’s “measuring stick”. If you can beat that team in a big game you have proven yourself, much like Deshaun Watson, Trevor Lawrence and Cam Newton. Under Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama has been just as great offensively as defensively, and Burrow went toe-to-toe and won. Burrow wins big, high-pressure games and if he continues to do that in the SEC Championship and both playoff games, it won’t be arguable anymore. 


Throughout the 2019 college football season Joe Burrow’s stock has soared and it might land him as the number one pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Burrow is the most polished quarterback in this draft and will look to be a day one starter wherever he goes. He is an extremely accurate thrower and has a good touch on every single one of his throws. 

The pocket presence is stellar as Burrow can dance around defenders and seems comfortable with pressure in his face, where a lot of young quarterbacks tend to struggle with. The throwing mechanics have to be the best among the college prospects coming into the draft as he has a quick and high delivery. An underrated talent of Burrow is his ability to read the defense. Burrow doesn’t just stick with the first read, he will calmly look around and make the smart play. 

The big performance from Burrow is when LSU traveled to Tuscaloosa to take on Alabama. It’s not easy facing a healthy Tua Tagovailoa and a Nick Saban’s defense in a hostile environment. Burrow lit up the Crimson Tide by completing 79.5% of his passes, threw for 393 yards and three touchdowns. Also, Burrow got it done with his legs with 64 yards on the ground. Burrow helped the Tigers defeat the Crimson Tide 46-41, but also helped separate himself from other Heisman candidates as the favorite. 



Burrow has impressive arm talent, but the strength of his arm is questionable.  His accuracy is great, but he does not have a cannon of an arm like some quarterbacks in this draft.  

Burrow will also only have one impressive year to look at.  This might cause scouts to veer away from the phenom because of the lack of tape he shows.  However, Kyler Murray only had one impressive year at Oklahoma, but his two-sport athleticism definitely overshadowed that case, as he went first overall to the Arizona Cardinals.  Burrow sat two years behind former Ohio State Buckeye J.T. Barrett. Barrett’s success caused Burrow to not have the spotlight he wanted to have.  

Lastly, when it comes to the quarterback position, size does not matter, as we have seen before.  But, it is always a plus. Burrow has had decent protection as a quarterback. It would be interesting to see how he would adapt with a struggling front line and no protection.  

With the way Burrow has performed this season, these weaknesses could very well be overlooked.  


I see one blatant downside to Burrows game which is there isn’t enough of it. He has been “Joe Burrow” for this season. Sure, he had a decent season in 2018, but he didn’t “arrive” until this season. Is that even a downside?  Probably not a harsh one. Another knock that he has is his inability to be evasive in the pocket. I don’t see an incredibly mobile quarterback here, something that we have seen from Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson in the NFL. The “new” type of NFL Quarterback is one that can run and pass. It is an extra dimension. 

I don’t want to say NFL scouts will knock Burrow for his inability to play like Lamar Jackson, but I will say that having a skillset to evade defenders makes a significant impact on your draft stock. 


Burrow has been the best QB in the nation hands down. However, the biggest worry is he’s only done it for one year. 2018 Joe Burrow probably goes undrafted and now we’re talking about him going number one. There are few guys with meteoric rises such as Burrow, this is somewhat uncharted waters. 

Burrow has also simply tried to do too much this season. He’s stood back there and taken more sacks than what should. The scary thing about this has to be his slender frame taking too many hits. Burrow isn’t as blessed as other guys at the position in terms of size. 

For Burrow he should be encouraged by these being his biggest flaws. If he continues to play like this, no one will care about the one good year of tape. Taking too many sacks is also correctable, he justs needs to throw it away more and live for the next play. 


Burrow has two negatives to me: Lack of physical tools that isn’t height, and the one year thing. While height is a huge thing NFL scouts love, under the hood Burrow has average physical tools. He has average to below average mobility, he doesn’t have a cannon of an arm like Herbert or Tua, and he’s somewhat scrawny for someone who’ll be taking a lot of hits from 260+ lb. NFL linebackers. Nowadays with Lamar Jackson, Kyler Murray and Deshaun Watson, teams want the complete package with QBs, because the ability to extend plays is a valuable commodity to have in today’s NFL. Who knows, Tom Brady is also 6’4” and had those same athletic attributes when he came in. 

The one year thing scares me a lot more than his lack of physical tools. Doing things consistently, especially in a team sport where that team is different every year is important. Any somewhat talented QB with a great team around him can have a great year. Over this past decade alone, we can name several QBs who had that one great last year in college which made them a higher draft pick, and later bombed in the NFL. 


As impressive as Joe Burrow has been, there’s one on the field flaw, and that’s taking too many sacks. Burrow on the season has been sacked 26 times, with five of them coming from the game against Alabama. Young quarterbacks have that “make something out of nothing” mentality, so it can easily be fixed throughout his career. This is just one of the growing pains a team is going to have to deal with. For one problem that’s not bad.

Burrow does have some convincing to do. He needs to show NFL teams that he isn’t just a one hit wonder type of quarterback. The 2019 season is the only year Burrow has shown quality tape, in 2018 he simply wasn’t good when he was backing up at Ohio State. 

Physically, Burrow isn’t gifted with the size of a quarterback. Burrow also doesn’t have the greatest of athleticism and speed either. His arm strength is good, but it doesn’t compare to some of the other quarterbacks in the draft class. 


Draft Prediction: Joe Burrow’s draft stock continues to rise.  Where do some of our analysts think he will fall?  


Joe Burrow has the talent to be the first overall pick.  However, if I am a team picking number one, I would go with the best player in the draft.  His name is Chase Young. I predict Joe Burrow to be a top 2 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.  


I have to imagine he will be picked in the top 5. Even if he doesn’t rise to the top of the draft board, there will be a team out there that will pull a Chicago Bears and throw the house to draft him. Guys like Chase Young from Ohio State will most likely be selected before Burrow. The only question comes down to is will the number one pick really need a quarterback?


Joe Burrow is the most talented and complete QB in the draft. Using history as a guide this means he will likely go first overall. Is he the most talented player in the draft, probably not as Chase Young is there. However, good quarterbacks are at a premium and Joe Burrow is simply the best this year. 


Whether they are picking one or two, Burrow will go to Cincinnati because of the big year he’s having, and he’s an Ohio boy. Tua is still my number one QB mostly due to his consistency over the years but his injury will be a red flag to scouts. These last two years have proven that all it takes is one great year to have number 1 value. It would be foolish to take anyone over Chase Young, but desperate NFL teams do foolish things, and the Bengals need their franchise QB. 


There’s no doubt Joe Burrow will be a top three pick. If it stays this way, the Cincinnati Bengals will be drafting Burrow number one overall. It’s hard to pass up on Ohio State’s Chase Young and it might be the wrong thing to do, but with Ryan Finley not the future answer and Andy Dalton on the way out, offensive-minded head coach, Zac Taylor, needs his franchise quarterback.



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