The Cincinnati Bengals selected Joe Burrow with the first overall pick of the 2020 NFL draft after a sensational 2019 season at LSU that included a whopping 60 touchdown passes. It would make sense, then, for the Bengals to go back to the Tigers’ tape and find out which plays Burrow liked most.
But there may be an even better option: just ask Burrow himself.
“I think the direction that they’re heading is going to fit me even more.,” Burrow told NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport on Rapsheet and Friends. “They’re going to do things that I’m comfortable with, and that’s a great sign. They had me put down my top 10 plays that I had and send it to them, so they can study them and see if they [can] have them in the offense, if they don’t [already] have them in the offense.”
This is just common sense, to be honest. It would be near-criminal for the Bengals to ignore what Burrow does well — or what he has an established history of success with — in order to maintain whatever program they’ve had in place prior to the Heisman Trophy winner’s arrival. The best chance for Cincinnati to see immediate returns from Burrow in 2020 is to mimic, to the best of their ability, the LSU offense.
The reality, however, is likely to tell a different tale than what LSU was able to accomplish in 2019. Their undefeated National Championship season certainly had a great deal to do with Burrow behind center, but he benefited from throwing to Justin Jefferson, who was the Minnesota Vikings’ first-round pick, and Ja’Marr Chase, who’s expected to be a top-10 pick in 2021. He also had the luxury of handing off to Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who the Chiefs picked with the 32nd overall pick.
LSU was loaded. They were men amongst boys. It won’t be that way with the Bengals, who are a few seasons of roster additions away from competing with the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC North.
The only way Cincinnati will get to that point is if Burrow becomes the franchise quarterback he’s expected to be. He’ll have a much better chance of reaching those expectations now that he has a voice in the Bengals’ featured plays in 2020 and beyond.