LSU football’s Joe Burrow will lead the Cincinnati Bengals’ offense in 2020.
Expectations will be sky high for LSU football‘s Joe Burrow in 2020 after being selected by the Cincinnati Bengals with the first overall selection in the NFL Draft.
Not only was Burrow the first player selected, but he’s also returning to Ohio, where he grew up and played high school football.
The combination of being the hometown kid and the first pick in the draft could be overwhelming for some.
But probably not for Burrow. There aren’t many football players more confident in their abilities than the former Tigers star. If anyone can handle the pressure of being the first pick and playing in their home state, it’s Burrow.
Will confidence translate to statistical success?
The release of Andy Dalton earlier this offseason means Burrow will be the Bengals’ starting quarterback from day one.
It also means that Burrow will be expected to produce from day one.
Now, it doesn’t necessarily mean that anyone is expecting Cincinnati to make a playoff run in 2020. While it could certainly happen (we’ve seen crazy turnarounds before), it’s unlikely. There’s a reason the Bengals had the first overall pick — they were really bad last season.
Cincinnati’s offensive line is still an issue (PFF ranked Cincy’s offensive line 30 out of 32 last year). That has to get fixed before Burrow can lead the team to the playoffs.
But what are reasonable expectations for Burrow as a rookie?
Well, despite the offensive line issues, Pro Football Focus still believes Burrow will finish the season as a top 10 quarterback.
They project that Burrow will finish the season with 3,734 passing yards, 23 passing yards and 303 rushing yards.
Joe Burrow projections
3,734 passing yards
23 passing TDs
303 rushing yards
He ranks as the No. 10 QB pic.twitter.com/aBn14kr7P1
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) May 19, 2020
This seems like a reasonable projection for Burrow, though it wouldn’t shock me if he exceeded these numbers.
Not that I expect Burrow to break Andrew Luck’s rookie passing record (4,374 yards in 2012), but the former LSU standout will certainly have weapons similar to those that Luck had as a rookie. Which means the rookie passing record could at least be within reach for Burrow.
Luck had veteran wide receiver Reggie Wayne, rookie wide receiver TY Hilton and running back Vick Ballard to work with in 2012.
Burrow will have veteran wide receiver AJ Green, rookie wide receiver Tee Higgins and running back Joe Mixon. He’ll also have wide receivers Tyler Boyd and John Ross.
The offensive firepower is there. If Burrow is able to quickly take hold of the offense (which I’m sure he will), then the Bengals could be firing on all cylinders in week one.
You never know how a rookie will perform, but Burrow is absolutely prepared to lead as a first year player.
PFF’s projection should probably be Burrow’s floor as a rookie. His ceiling isn’t far off from what Luck accomplished as a rookie.