Following months of anticipation, former LSU standout quarterback Joe Burrow was selected with the first overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft by the Cincinnati Bengals. That puts him officially on his path toward becoming a bonafide starting quarterback in the league and possibly much more. Burrow‘s being taken with the first overall spot also put him in exclusive company alongside Cam Newton for a rare feat in NFL history.
Joe Burrow’s rise to stardom
Burrow had nothing short of an intriguing path at the collegiate level as he spent his first three years at Ohio State.
That began with him redshirting his first year while the following two seasons saw him serve as J.T. Barrett’s backup.
Things changed drastically ahead of his redshirt junior year as he transferred to LSU in May 2018 after it became clear Dwayne Haskins would be named the starter. Burrow earned the starting job with the Tigers that saw him guide the team to a 10-3 mark while finishing sixth overall in the final AP poll.
He truly took off in his senior campaign as he put together what’s been argued as being the greatest single season for a quarterback at the collegiate level.
Burrow put up impressive production as he finished with an NCAA record 60 touchdown passes along with being third all-time with 5,671 passing yards on 76.3% completion rate and a 202 passer rating that earned him the Heisman Trophy award. He also led LSU to an undefeated season that was highlighted with an incredible run to a national championship. In the title game against Clemson, he threw for 463 yards with six total touchdowns, with five of them being passing.
All of that put Burrow in the spot of joining another former Heisman Trophy winner for an impressive feat before his NFL career has begun.
Joe Burrow Joins Cam Newton in NFL history
Burrow put nothing short of a magical 2019 season that saw him put forth a dream season where he reached all the heights honors in a single campaign.
That placed him firmly in the spot of being selected with the first overall pick in this year’s draft. According to ESPN’s Stats & Info, Burrow has joined Newton as the only players over the last 70 years to win the Heisman Trophy award, a national title, and were taken with the first overall selection in the NFL Draft in the same academic year.
Newton had put himself on the map in his lone season with Auburn as he guided the school to a national championship behind his breakout campaign. That cemented him as the first overall pick by the Carolina Panthers in the 2011 NFL draft.
Although Burrow and Newton are entirely different in their approach to playing the quarterback position, the two are forever ingrained together for one impressive mark.
Joe Burrow’s NFL future
The reigning Heisman Trophy winner is set to embark on his NFL career with the Bengals. It will be a tall task to climb for Burrow, given the massive room for improvement, but the franchise will be every bit behind him to lead the way forward.
The Bengals have skilled-position talent around him with Pro Bowler A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd, and took fellow rookie Tee Higgins in this year’s draft. Cincinnati also possesses a solid option in the backfield with Joe Mixon, who is coming off his second straight 1,000-rushing yard campaign.
There will be the typical rookie struggles ahead for Burrow as he adjusts to playing at the next level, but the franchise is all in with him being their future under center. The Bengals are a rebuilding phase, but the LSU product could be the key to guiding them back to relevancy in the NFL and potentially much more.