Was there ever a doubt in anyone’s mind that Joe Burrow was one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL?
Well, if there was, there should not have been.
Recently, NFL.com came out with a rating of all 59 quarterbacks who started a game in 2020. Burrow, despite playing in only 10 games before suffering a season-ending knee injury, came in at No. 18.
Burrow finished ahead of such established names as Jared Goff, Ben Roethlisberger and Drew Brees. And there is no telling what he could have done with even decent protection. At the time of his injury, Burrow had been sacked a league-leading 32 times.
Parr was not alone in his praise of the former Heisman Trophy winner and Cincinnati’s first No. 1 overall pick since Carson Palmer in 2003. Former Cincinnati Bengals standout Carlos Dunlap was one of many who thinks that Burrow will be the face of the franchise, and of the league, for years to come.
”I believe Joe Burrow is definitely going to be the future of the NFL,” Dunlap told Zach Gelb on CBS Sports Radio. “He has a lot of potential. He has a lot of heart. He cares. He’s very passionate about what he does and about getting better at what he does.
“It’s clear what the Bengals organization saw, and I think the world got to see in him in the games he was able to play in. It just sucks that he got hurt the way he did and now he’s got to tackle the rehab process. But I believe he has more than enough mental toughness to get through that. I can’t wait to see him get back.”
In those 10 games, Burrow gave Cincinnati, and all of the NFL, a glimpse of what he can and will become. He completed 264 of 404 passes for 2,688 yards, 13 touchdowns and five interceptions. Burrow’s final quarterback rating was a very respectable 89.8.
Brian Baldinger of NFL Network, who played guard/center over the course of a 12-year career with Dallas, Indianapolis, Buffalo and Philadelphia, was also impressed with the impact Burrow was able to have on a struggling Bengals’ franchise - especially considering the abysmal state of Cincinnati’s offensive line.
“It’s unfortunate what happened, because he was having a fantastic season, and he’s the real deal,” Baldinger said.
Palmer, the other No. 1 overall pick, knew that Cincinnati had something special in Burrow. But he did not expect it to happen so quickly.
“I was shocked,” Palmer said in an appearance on the Pat McAfee show. “I thought he was going to be a good pro and the sky was the limit. But he came in and played as a rookie on a team that was not quite as good as every team they played personnel-wise and he still with that supporting cast played like 1 of the top 10 QBs in the league. I was blown away.”