2020 NFL Draft Profile: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU

Joe Burrow

Quarterback, LSU Tigers
6-3, 221
40 time: 4.80e

OVERVIEW

The image of Burrow, legs crossed, puffing on a victory cigar after winning the national championship is quite simply the snapshot of the college football season. Burrow and the LSU Tigers dominated from start to finish, with Burrow winning the Heisman by record margins — including highest percentage of points (93.8) and first-place votes (90.7) — in one of the great quarterback seasons of all-time. He completed 76.3 percent of his passes for 5,671 yards and 60 touchdowns with only six interceptions, setting an FBS record for passing efficiency with a 202.0 rating.

Joe Burrow
Jan 13, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; LSU Tigers quarterback Joe Burrow (9) warms up before the College Football Playoff national championship game against the Clemson Tigers at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

That was the culmination of a remarkable story for the kid from Athens, Ohio, who spent three seasons at Ohio State, including a redshirt year. When he failed to win the job after spring practice 2018, ending up third string behind Dwayne Haskins and Tate Martell, he transferred to LSU, where he started in 2018 and posted solid numbers (2,894 yards, 16 TDs). But it wasn’t until coach Ed Orgeron imported whiz kid Joe Brady from the NFL as the passing game coordinator that LSU unlocked and unleashed its full potential behind an up-tempo, spread offense in which Burrow was nearly flawless.

Burrow declined to test or work out at the NFL Scouting Combine, acknowledging that his terrific season provided him some “leverage,” but he interviewed with teams and is the odd-on favorite to go first overall.



ANALYSIS

Burrow is a poised, confident gunslinger with a “gamer” mentality and impressive accuracy to attack the entire field. He’s a coach’s son, and it shows with his intelligence on and off the field, as he graduated early from Ohio State to transfer to LSU with two years of eligibility remaining. Impressive pre-snap diagnosis, routinely taking easy short passes to move the chains while demonstrating the velocity, touch and accuracy to attack at the intermediate and deep levels. Flashes terrific ball placement on especially difficult deep out-cutting throws near the sideline (Alabama, Auburn), as well as over the top (Texas). May not possess a true rocket but understands velocity, adjusting his throwing angle and speed as necessary to give his receiver the best chance at making the catch. Senses the rush with better spatial awareness of creeping defenders than his playing time suggests. Highly competitive and a creative, tough scrambler who keeps his eyes downfield to exhaust passing opportunities before crossing the line of scrimmage. Is very effective when he does choose to run, capitalizing on holes in the defense and inspiring his teammates with strong, sneaky-fast scrambles.

Burrow has only two seasons as a starting quarterback and has been surrounded by elite talent at LSU and Ohio State. At times, he can be a bit methodical with his reads, staring down receivers and providing defenders opportunities to make plays on the ball. Lacks “wow” physical characteristics with average to slightly above-average size, speed and arm strength in comparison to other top QB prospects. Unafraid to challenge tight windows, providing opportunities for his receivers — but also defensive backs — to battle for the ball. Willing to lead his receivers into contact.

PRO COMPARISON

Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings — Savvy, tough and possessing Pro Bowl-caliber accuracy, Burrow is a future franchise quarterback who won’t have to wait nearly as long on draft day to hear his name called as Cousins, whom Washington nabbed 102nd overall back in 2012.



Projection: First round

–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)