How no one is appreciating Joe Burrow’s rookie season like they should be

Former LSU football QB Joe Burrow Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports
Former LSU football QB Joe Burrow Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports /

Former LSU football quarterback Joe Burrow is having quite a rookie season.

When the Cincinnati Bengals selected former LSU football quarterback Joe Burrow with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, they were hoping they had drafted a player with the potential to be a franchise quarterback for years to come.

I don’t think they were expecting to get an instant-star.

But that’s exactly what Burrow has proved to be so far.

The former Tigers standout has passed for 2,272 yards and 11 touchdowns this season in eight games. He’s on pace to pass for 4,544 yards, which would break Andrew Luck’s rookie record (4,374 passing yards, set in 2012).

Those are insane numbers for a rookie who’s on a bad team that historically doesn’t win many games.

Boomer Esiason compares himself as a rookie to Joe Burrow

The expecations for Burrow were so high entering this season that I’m not sure anyone is fully appreciating what he’s doing as a rookie.

Not only is Burrow racking up impressive stats, but he’s also already proved to be an incredible teammate and team leader. Burrow is everything that a franchise could want in a quarterback and he’s just getting started.

Where Burrow is as a rookie is a far cry from where Bengals legend Boomer Esiason was a rookie in 1984.

“If I compare it to me, I was completely lost my rookie year,” said Esiason recently (via “This kids looks like he picked up the playbook right from LSU and brought it with him.”

There’s a learning process for any player that makes the jump from college to the NFL. That learning process is typically even greater for a quarterback. They have to learn the playbook, learn to process things on the field faster, be a leader, and command an offense full of veterans. That’s a tall task for anyone, let alone a young player with no professional experience.

Part of what makes Burrow great, according to Esiason, is that he plays the game with the mind of a point guard (Burrow was an all-star point guard in high school).

“He’s got the mind of a point guard and he has the athleticism of a great basketball player, but he has the intangibles to play quarterback,” explained Esiason.

Whatever it is, it’s clear that Burrow has the “it” factor that very, very few quarterbacks have.

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The Bengals are lucky to have Burrow. They just need to make sure they don’t waste that luck by not giving Burrow an appropriate supporting cast.