LSU Football: Mel Kiper was skeptical of Joe Burrow’s surge up draft boards

BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA - OCTOBER 05: Quarterback Joe Burrow #9 of the LSU Tigers looks to throw ball against the Utah State Aggiesat Tiger Stadium on October 05, 2019 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA - OCTOBER 05: Quarterback Joe Burrow #9 of the LSU Tigers looks to throw ball against the Utah State Aggiesat Tiger Stadium on October 05, 2019 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /
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LSU football’s Joe Burrow was the top selection in the 2020 NFL Draft.

When the 2018 season ended, LSU football quarterback Joe Burrow wasn’t viewed as a top draft prospect.

In fact, ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper — one of the leading voices in the “draft world” — felt like Burrow was a sixth round pick.

That’s certainly understandable. Burrow was coming off his first year as a starter after sitting on the bench for three years at Ohio State. In 13 games as a redshirt junior at LSU in 2018, Burrow passed for 2,894 yards, 16 touchdowns and five interceptions.

Those are pretty decent numbers, but they aren’t eye-popping. Burrow was seventh in the SEC in passing yards in 2018. Jordan Ta’amu was second in the SEC in passing yards in 2018 and went undrafted in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Calling Burrow a sixth round pick after 2018 was completely reasonable. Maybe even generous.

So it’s understandable that Kiper wasn’t all-in at first when Burrow started climbing draft boards last year.

“The improvement was so dramatic and you were a little cautious early on”, said Kiper during ESPN’s draft broadcast.

“This was a sixth round pick going into the year and all of the sudden, you see this guy putting up big numbers and he looks like he’s got it.”

Of course, Kiper (along with nearly everyone else that covers the NFL) soon warmed up to the idea of Burrow being the best quarterback in the draft class.

“His poise, his confidence, the way he manipulates the pocket, he just has that ‘It’ factor. He has tremendous awareness”, explained Kiper.

Kiper wasn’t just jumping on the Burrow bandwagon, either. He knows what Burrow did was extremely special and will probably never happen again.

“I think his improvement was not only dramatic, it was historic and I don’t think we’ll ever see it again.”

2021 LSU commit already oozes pride for LSU. dark. Next

We’re nearly four months removed from Joe Burrow’s final game at LSU and I’m still in awe of how he performed in 2019. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to wrap my head around how good Burrow was last season.