Instead of doing individual players like last year, this year Draft Core will be highlighting the position as a whole.
Players deemed as “Primetime Players” are the elite crop of the draft. Draft Core evaluates the top rated players and highlight a trait or two that will translate to the next level. In addition, Draft Core will make a player comparison and a team that needs the player’s skillset.
There is just one Primetime Player at the quarterback position and that is LSU Quarterback Joe Burrow.
Joe Burrow QB LSU
Joe Burrow may of had the best college football season ever at the quarterback position. The former LSU Tiger took home the Heisman, won the SEC and College Football Playoff Championships, and oh yeah, threw for an FBS record 60 touchdowns.
Where do you start with Burrow? That isn’t even the complete list of records and achievements he accomplished this past season. The way he came relatively out of no where to the best quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck is simply remarkable. We just don’t see this kind of improvement out of a player and it was to our benefit as football fans to see his play evolve each game he played.
Burrow isn’t a freak talent like Patrick Mahomes. He isn’t as mobile as Russell Wilson or Lamar Jackson. He doesn’t have the arm strength that Aaron Rodger has. But what he does have, like these other elite quarterbacks listed, is the ability to improve his game and the ability to read an opposing defense as if he had their playbook prior to the game.
In addition to these traits, Burrow also possesses the competitive fire reminiscent of Tom Brady. He loves the game and his desire to win is obvious. He is the kind of leader that immediately takes over a locker room from day 1.
The last trait, and perhaps the most important trait that will make Joe Burrow an elite quarterback is the ability to make plays when the play breaks down. Any competent quarterback can make the throw when the play runs as planned, but when the play breaks down and chaos ensues, the quarterbacks that can create miracles out of nothing are the ones that become elite. To put this trait into some context, Burrow is the only quarterback in this year’s draft class whose passer rating under pressure was actually better than is overall passer rating. This is the quality that will make him elite in the coming years.
Player Comparison: Tom Brady
Let’s pump the breaks here. Even the most delusional LSU fanboy isn’t expecting Burrow to win 6 Super Bowls and become the best to ever do it. But ask yourself this, what are the traits that define Tom Brady? The competitive fire, being able to deal with pressure, and the ability to methodically read opposing defenses and shred them apart. These are traits Burrow possesses too and this comparison is simply revealing those similarities. Is Burrow going to be as good Brady? Most likely not. Could he though? There are reasons that this post highlights to make the assertion that it is not out of the realm of possibility.
Team Fit: Cincinnati Bengals (1st Pick)
Bengals fans have been pegging this pick for quite some time. It just makes too much sense. Burrow is an Ohio kid and Ohio’s own would turn around the trajectory of a franchise that has struggled to get out of mediocrity. The Bengals already have weapons with a healthy A.J. Green coming back, an emerging young stud in Tyler Boyd, and a top 10 running back to rely on in Joe Mixon.
Cincinnati will need to patch up their offensive line and also get him a tight end to replace Tyler Eifert but the poor offensive line play won’t be as big of a hurdle as it would be for most quarterbacks. No matter how hard things get, Burrow is capable of putting a team on his back and deal with traffic in the pocket and still make a big play. Andy Dalton is a solid starting quarterback, but his biggest weakness was dealing with pressure and not being able to make something out of nothing. Burrow fixes those weaknesses the minute he sets foot in the Queen City.