Joe Burrow NFL Draft Prospect Profile: The Best QB in 2020 Class (Scouting Report)

QB Joe Burrow – Senior – LSU

The former Ohio State transfer exploded onto the college football scene in his senior season. After sitting in the backup role for the Buckeyes for two years, Burrow made the decision to go to LSU when he learned he would be playing behind Dwayne Haskins and Justin Fields as well. His junior season at LSU wasn’t anything to get excited about (2,894 yards – 16 TD – 5 INT), which is why at the start of his senior season he wasn’t as highly regarded as he is now.

After his record-breaking season, Burrow is now sitting atop the college football world after his championship winning undefeated season saw him claim the Heisman Award as well. Burrow is now expected to be the #1 overall pick in the upcoming draft.

College Production

YearClassGComp.Att.Comp. %YdsTDINT
2016FR5222878.6%22620
2017SO571163.6%6100
2018JR1321937957.8%2894165
2019SR1540252776.3%5671606

Pros

Football IQ – Burrow’s football IQ is on an elite level. He understands how to read defenses and go through his progressions. His pre-snap reads are excellent as well. Knows how to throw receivers open and use the space defenses give him.

Accuracy – Burrow was one of the most accurate quarterbacks in college his senior season. After completing just 57.8% of his passes his junior year, Burrow completed an impressive 76.3% of his passes his senior year. His short-ball accuracy is unmatched and his deep ball accuracy isn’t the greatest but is still well above average.

Pocket Presence – Burrow’s pocket presence was on an elite level as well. He is a true pocket passer and has great feel when inside the pocket. After being sacked 35 times his junior season, Burrow was sacked just 34 times in his senior campaign despite having more than 150 more pass attempts. Burrow knows when pressure is coming and when he has to get rid of the ball quickly.

Decision Making – Burrow is excellent at knowing when to make the short throws or go for the deep bombs. His ability to read defenses and understand his receivers helps him make great decisions. Only throwing six interceptions on 527 pass attempts, Burrow knows when it is the right time to make a throw and when not to force a pass.

Cons

Speed – Burrow is a 6’4″, 216 pounds quarterback and he runs like one. He isn’t the slowest runner in the world but he also won’t outrun many defensive players once he reaches the NFL. He was able to escape the pocket a lot in college but he won’t be known for his speed or escaping abilities in the NFL against faster competition.

Arm Strength – He doesn’t have the weakest arm out there but he also doesn’t have the strongest. Some of his deep throws have too much air on them and not enough zip. In college he was able to get away with some floaters but in the NFL, that may come back to haunt him. Throwing with a little more zip will be one of his biggest offseason issues to address.

Release – Burrow’s mechanics aren’t the greatest which contributes to his release not being as elite as it could be. Burrow leaves the ball low a lot which can cause his release to be a little slower than most quarterbacks.

Footwork – Burrow tends to make a lot of flat-footed throws. Its one of those things that he can get away with in college but will have to work on in the NFL. His questionable footwork could lead to bad timing on throws, especially if he doesn’t build some throwing strength.

Draft Range

Top 3

Best Fit

The Cincinnati Bengals have the #1 overall pick and they have already said they are not in the market to trade that pick. The Bengals are in need of a quarterback because it is clear the Andy Dalton experiment hasn’t worked out. However, the Bengals have a lot of issues they need to address, especially on the defensive end. If the Bengals shock the world by trading this pick or even drafting Chase Young over Burrow, there is one spot that Burrow could slide to that would be a great fit. The Detroit Lions have the third pick and could be an excellent opportunity for Burrow. Going the Aaron Rodgers way, Burrow could sit behind Stafford for a couple of years and continue to develop and learn. Detroit has talent on both sides of the ball with a young coach. The future could be bright for Detroit if somehow Burrow could slip that far, although it is unlikely.

Worst Fit

It seems all but a guarantee at this point that Burrow is headed to Cincinnati. However, if Burrow doesn’t go #1 overall, the Washington Redskins will be on the clock. A move by the Redskins to draft Burrow with the #2 pick would be bad for both Burrow and Washington. Burrow left Ohio State because of Dwayne Haskins and if the Redskins drafted Burrow a year after drafting Haskins, it would be a wasted pick. Setting up an unnecessary quarterback competition and neglecting to address other areas of need would be a major mistake.

NFL Comparison

Comparing any quarterback to Tom Brady is almost like blasphemy. However, comparing a 23-year old Joe Burrow to a 23-year old Tom Brady is a little more understandable. Both quarterbacks are similar in size (6’4″) and have similar strengths and weaknesses as well. Burrow is good at reading defenses and working through his progressions. He has an accurate arm and is capable of throwing a deep ball well when needed. Mobility isn’t the strongest aspect of his game but he is capable of using his legs fairly well in times of desperation. While he may not be as successful as Tom Brady in 20 years, at this point in his career, he bares some similarities to the G.O.A.T. when he was Burrow’s age.

Grading Scale

Vision: 9/10 – Burrow has the vision to find any open receiver on the field. He is able to scan the entire field to find the best option on each passing play.

Accuracy: 9/10 – Burrow throws his receivers open as well as any quarterback in the country. Whether it is short accuracy or deep accuracy, Burrow is above average to elite when it comes to accuracy throwing the ball anywhere on the field.

Pocket Presence: 9/10 – Burrow can feel the pass rush extremely well. He isn’t the most mobile quarterback out there but his pocket presence helps him avoid a lot of pass rushes despite being average when it comes to speed and agility.

Arm Strength: 7/10 – Burrow’s arm strength isn’t the best there is but it is still above average. Some deep balls tend to have a little more arm on them than you would like to see, especially in the NFL. However, he has the arm strength to get by in the NFL and should be able to improve in this area throughout his career.

Mechanics: 6/10 – Burrow can tend to be flat-footed on some of his throws. He also holds the ball low in the pocket at times which can cause him to have a slow release. Having a quick release is very important in the NFL so this is one area Burrow will need to address from day one.

Mobility: 6/10 – Burrow isn’t going to outrun an entire defense for long touchdowns. However, he also isn’t the slowest guy on the field. Capable of out running some defenders, Burrow can extend plays at times as well as many quarterbacks in the draft. His elite pocket presence causes his mobility to seem better than it really is but it still isn’t a major flaw.

  

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