The safe assumption is that no team has familiarized themselves with Joe Burrow more than the Cincinnati Bengals. There’s no way to quantify that, but we’re comfortable stating it.
This wasn’t going to stop them from traveling to Baton Rouge this week to see Burrow and his former teammates workout at LSU’s pro day, but with the COVID-19 pandemic practically shutting the country down, pro days became a luxury easily sacrificed for the greater good.
Instead of seeing Burrow throw firsthand Friday, April 3rd, when LSU’s pro day was originally scheduled for, the Bengals will be social distancing and according to head coach Zac Taylor, sticking to the tape.
“Really, the No. 1 evaluation tool is always the regular-season tape, especially with quarterbacks,” Taylor told ESPN Bengals reporter Ben Baby. “We watched all that as much as we could with all these quarterbacks that are options there. Again, it’s just one box you don’t get to check off. But I think we’re comfortable making any decision that we make without having seen all these guys throw live.”
Taylor may have not seen Burrow throw in-person, but director of player personnel Duke Tobin has. He was reportedly in attendance for LSU’s October matchup against fellow quarterback prospect Jordan Love and Utah State. It’s safe to assume other members of the Bengals’ scouting department have seen Burrow live in 2019 as well.
Burrow not having a pro day was not going to deter the Bengals from picking him, but like Taylor said, it is an inconvenience compared to what the pre-draft process normally entails.
The Heisman Trophy winner isn’t the only LSU prospect the Bengals would’ve had eyes on either. Just to name a few: WR Justin Jefferson, C/G Lloyd Cushenberry III, LB Patrick Queen and S Grant Delpit are all top prospects at their respective positions. The Bengals met privately with Queen at the NFL scouting combine.
“We went through a long list of guys and we’ve been doing this for two months now,” Taylor said. “We feel like we’ll be really prepared come April.”
Pro days are great opportunities for prospects to make a final on-field impression for teams, but the Bengals aren’t going to drastically alter their draft plans just because they won’t be happening this year.