The wait is almost over for the Bengals to finally select LSU quarterback Joe Burrow with the first overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft. Still, we can enjoy the fact the Burrow is making his media rounds and really putting a voice to what this whole situation is like.
He recently spoke with ESPN’s Adam Schefter on the insider’s podcast and shed some light on his expectations and uncertainty going into his rookie season.
“I expect to play well. That’s one thing,” Burrow said. “I expect to be preparing like I prepared at LSU, and continuing what I expect my level of performance is. At this point I don’t really know because of all of this pandemic and quarantine and all that. It is going to be tough without the OTA reps, so I’m going to have to find ways to get mental reps while I’m here. It will be an interesting first year for sure.”
The only season we can really compare this to is the NFL lockout prior to the 2011 season, which was ironically the last time Cincinnati drafted a franchise quarterback. There is no certainty of when (or if) the 2020 training camp will begin or even the season as a whole. We know the NFL is allowing teams to have virtual workouts with players, but that is hardly enough to prepare a team for the season.
Burrow not only has to learn the playbook, but he has to create some chemistry with the skill position players around him before the season actually begins. There is no doubt that mentally Burrow will be there, but there are things that physical practices with a full team you just can’t learn virtually.
The 23-year old quarterback also recently reached out to a fellow Heisman Trophy winner in Peyton Manning. Burrow came away from the discussion with a “whole list of notes,” but you can also just tell how humble he remains by the way he talked about his conversation with Manning.
“Its an honor he took the time to talk to me. He didn’t have to do it,” Burrow said. “I just called and wanted to hear his thoughts on a couple of different things because he had been through it, and I feel like we are kind of in similar situations coming into the NFL. So I wanted to see how he handled it, and how he was able to do what he did for as log as he did.”
There are few better people to call up for advice about the NFL than Manning, and it really shows the drive that Burrow has to play quarterback at a high level for a long time. What was the main thing he took away, though? To not expect to play at that level right away.
“The main thing he kept reiterating was that your first year is not going to be what you have been accustomed to doing,” Burrow said. “You know, teams are picking that high for a reason, and said ‘you’ve just got to stay even keeled throughout the whole process. Continue to prepare every single week like your job depends on it...’ That was the main thing he kept saying.”
That is really good advice especially with how Burrow will be entering his rookie year. It is already hard enough to translate your college success into pro success, much less having to do it during a pandemic with restricted ways of practicing.
There shouldn’t be much doubt that Burrow won’t be doing everything to put his best foot forward his first season in the NFL. We all should expect some serious bumps in the road for Burrow, but patience should really pay off going forward with him at the helm.
Burrow also showed just what kind of teammate he is with his reply to how he would celebrate being drafted first overall.
“Probably just keep watching the draft and see which one of my guys goes where,” Burrow said. “I’m excited to see where all my teammates land, so I’ll just be sitting on my couch waiting to hear their names called.”
Some guys know what they’re supposed to say, and then there are guys like Burrow who are just genuinely that guy you wish you got the chance to play or root for at some point.