Joe Burrow – Part 1 – College Evaluation

Widely regarded as the top quarterback prospect, and likely #1 overall pick in the NFL Draft in April, Joe Burrow is a record-breaking college quarterback that has many traits that should carry over to the NFL.

Joe Burrow - Part 1 - College Evaluation 1
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – JANUARY 13: Joe Burrow #9 of the LSU Tigers reacts to a touchdown against Clemson Tigers during the third quarter in the College Football Playoff National Championship game at Mercedes Benz Superdome on January 13, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Athletic Ability – 7.6/10

While Burrow is no Lamar Jackson speed-wise, he does show great athletic ability in other ways. While he lacks ‘wiggle’ in the open-field to make defenders miss, he has good awareness of when to scramble and enough speed to consistently pick up first downs with his legs. He uses his feet well in the pocket as well to slide away from pass rushers, and showed the ability to throw on the run with good accuracy.

Toughness – 8.2/10

At 6’4″ tall and 216 lbs, Joe Burrow has the size and strength to handle the rigors of being a quarterback in the NFL. He is able to absorb hits in the pocket while still protecting the ball, while also taking on defenders while scrambling. If you watched the Alabama game this past season, you saw first hand his ability to break out of arm tackles and stay on his feet in order to deliver a strike down the field.

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NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – JANUARY 13: Joe Burrow #9 of the LSU Tigers throws the ball under pressure as James Skalski #47 of the Clemson Tigers tries to defend during the College Football Playoff National Championship game at Mercedes Benz Superdome on January 13, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Pocket Presence – 8.9/10

This was an area where Joe Burrow excelled in 2019, and our rookie evaluators at Rotoheat recognized that with no one scoring Burrow below an 8/10 in this trait. The word ‘elite’ gets thrown around an awful lot, but an argument can be made that Burrow is fairly close to that level of praise in this area, if not already there. Our rankers consistently used words like ‘patient,’ ‘composed,’ and ‘poised’ to describe his pocket presence. Burrow did a great job of stepping up into the pocket when he felt pressure, all while keeping his eyes downfield to make an accurate throw. This is one of Joe’s best qualities and should translate very well to the NFL.

Arm Strength – 7.8/10

Arm strength was one of the lowest scoring traits for Joe Burrow, and yet he still registered nearly an 8/10 rating (it goes to show how solid of a prospect this guy really is!). The common thought among most of the team was while he lacked elite arm strength like that of Mahomes (or even fellow prospect Justin Herbert), the velocity on his throws was adequate and by no means should this be a factor that holds him back at the next level. He is still able to make nearly every throw, and even showed nice touch on his deep balls (as evidenced by the first touchdown pass in the National Championship which traveled 45 yards in the air rather effortlessly).

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ATLANTA, GEORGIA – DECEMBER 07: Joe Burrow #9 of the LSU Tigers throws a pass in the first half against the Georgia Bulldogs during the SEC Championship game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 07, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Accuracy – 8.3/10

As mentioned previously, Joe Burrow displayed good touch on his passes and was able to show his accuracy at all levels of the field. This deadly accuracy helps offset any concerns about the lack of ‘elite’ arm strength. Undoubtedly, Burrow was surrounded by great receiving talent, but even so he put his teammates in a great position to rack up yards after catch by leading them in their routes so that they did not have to break stride. The stats support the film as well, as Burrow led the NCAA in completion percentage (76.3%) on the second most pass attempts (527).