Joe Burrow will very likely be the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft after his historic season at LSU. Everything seems to be going his way, from his breakout senior season to a national championship. One thing, however, could hold Burrow back, and it isn’t something he can do anything about.
Is Joe Burrow too old?
It seems laughable to think of a 23-year-old as too old, but it’s a legitimate concern for many NFL scouts and coaches seeking the next superstar. With the first pick in the draft, the Bengals can’t afford to mess up. Drafting a player who’s approaching his mid-twenties means he may have lost valuable developmental years.
Burrow redshirted his first season while he was at Ohio State. When he transferred to LSU, he did so as a grad student as he worked on his master’s degree. Despite this, his numbers as a senior were too good to pass up. Over 5,600 yards, 60 touchdowns, and only six interceptions while completing over 75% of passes is unheard of.
He’s shown an ability to rush, throw, and work through adversity to make a name for himself, but his age still could be an issue for teams in the end.
Does Burrow’s age matter?
Every player has their own success story. Jimmy Garoppolo, now headed to his first Super Bowl as a starting quarterback, spent years backing up Tom Brady in New England, while likely NFL MVP Lamar Jackson broke out as a starter in his rookie season before becoming a superstar in year two.
Players like Brady, who are drafted in late rounds, have long, successful careers; other players drafted near the top, like Jameis Winston, can struggle to show they are worthy of the pick.
Kurt Warner was older than Burrow when he found his way into the NFL in more difficult circumstances, immediately finding a way to win a Super Bowl. The point is that Burrow’s journey is not set in stone. If he can prove his worth, nobody will care about his age
Nothing is set in stone for Burrow regardless. He can’t control the year he was born, but he can control his work ethic, talent, and ability to show he got those developmental years. The question is no longer about whether he is ready. Now it’s about if he is more prepared than others.
Where will Burrow go?
Despite his age, Burrow will likely be the Bengals’ No. 1 pick. Cincinnati has implied that it’s done with long-time quarterback Andy Dalton. Even if they weren’t, Burrow just had one of the greatest seasons a college quarterback has ever thrown. As the likely first pick, he’s also in for a hefty payday, as the initial deal could land him upwards of $37 million.
Burrow didn’t get where he was by relenting to doubts and letting others dictate his game. He did it with hard work and dedication. This is why he had such a good final college season, and this is why he should be ready for Cincinnati, or whichever team, come the 2020 NFL season.