A pretty common practice during draft season is for analysts to assign pro comparisons for prospects. One in particular caught fans attention when likely first overall pick, quarterback Joe Burrow, was compared to Kurt Warner in a draft profile.
Warner had an up and down career, and depending on your age, you may see this as more of a plus or negative. Of course, many people, including Lance Zierlein who wrote the draft profile, latched onto the people who took the comparison as a bad thing. It didn’t take long for Warner to catch wind of the frustration.
Especially when coming from Bengals fans... I’d like to think they’d be happy with my production... but what do I know! Sorry Joe 3 SBs and 2 MVPs just isn’t good enough in Cincy!— Kurt Warner (@kurt13warner) February 9, 2020
One of the bad thing about Twitter and other social media is that it is very easy for a loud minority to be heard as though it represented the entire fan base. Of course most Bengals fans would kill for Burrow to have Warner’s career in Cincinnati.
Warner made a name for himself as the conductor of the Greatest Show on Turf from 1999-2001 with the Rams. He led the team to two Super Bowl appearances in which they won one. His 41 passing touchdowns in 1999 are especially impressive as that was before the league really opened up the passing game with rule changes.
He did experience a lull in his career when he suffered some injuries that opened the door for Marc Bulger to take his starting job. Then he went to the Giants where he never got a fair shake with the team ready to move onto rookie quarterback Eli Manning. Then he landed with the Arizona Cardinals who were planning on grooming Matt Leinart.
Instead, Warner proved to be the better option, and in 2007 resurrected his career with 27 touchdowns in 11 games. The next season he lead the Cardinals to 9-7 record, but they made their way to the Super Bowl where they lost in heartbreaking fashion to the Steelers.
Warner’s career wasn’t the constant success that many probably want to see their future quarterback compared to, but the other important thing to note here is that pro comparisons doesn’t mean they are projected to have the same career.
Burrow is a very hard comparison because he doesn’t have the rocket arm that many expect out of a first overall pick. Every other aspect of his game is incredible from a throwing standpoint. The one place where the comparison doesn’t really fit is Burrow’s athleticism that allows him to extend the play and throw off balance. Then again, from a purely throwing standpoint, Warner is a perfectly unique pro comparison that really matches Burrow.
Burrow will have plenty of time to carve out his own name in the NFL, and it probably won’t be long till prospects are being compared to him. He is unique because he fits the mold of the new era quarterback that everyone is looking for, but no one really can fit Burrow into their mold yet. Honestly, as long as we can shutdown the Andy Dalton comparisons we should all take that as a fan base.