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Is Joe Burrow already a top-10 QB in the NFL?

One SBNation analyst thinks Joe Burrow is a top-10 quarterback going into his second year.

Tennessee Titans v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Bobby Ellis/Getty Images

Is Joe Burrow already a top-10 quarterback in the NFL?

James Dator of SBNation thinks so.

Dator ranked the starting quarterbacks of all 32 teams, and he put Burrow at the #10 spot on the list. Here’s why:

I’m giving the slight nod to Burrow here over Justin Herbert because of just how good he was prior to injury. Yes, I’m putting some faith in him returning to form — but with Ja’Marr Chase as a new weapon, Burrow is poised to make an impact. I still wish the Bengals got him a little more protection, but this was a guy who was on pace for 4,300 passing yards prior to injury. That’s similar to Herbert, sure ... but he didn’t have the same support around him.

For reference, Burrow edges out Herbert for the highest-ranked quarterback of the 2020 draft class. He is also two spots below Lamar Jackson, making him the second-highest ranked quarterback in the division. Ben Roethlisberger is ranked 14th, while Baker Mayfield is ranked 18th.

So is Joe Burrow really a top-10 quarterback going into his second year? Dator didn’t use any advanced metrics, and he barely even used conventional stats. This is just some good ol’ fashioned analysis, or as some might put it, an opinion.

First of all, is there anyone else on the list Burrow could pass? Right away at number nine, Matt Ryan might be vulnerable. The former MVP is on the back nine of his career, and many thought the Falcons would draft his replacement this season. Plus, he may have to play without Julio Jones, depending on how that whole situation shakes out.

The most controversial pick on the list is Dak Prescott at number five. Depending on who you talk to, Prescott is either the most underrated quarterback in the league or the most overrated. There will be plenty of people out there who think Burrow should top Prescott in the rankings.

It seems like the tenth spot is roughly where Burrows’ ceiling should be, give or take a spot or two. Should he drop any lower?

Who on this list could top Burrow?

For starters, the guy who is sitting one spot below. A more accurate ranking would probably put Burrow and Herbert at 10a and 10b, since Burrow didn’t get to play a full season. Dator went with Burrow because he had similar production in five fewer games, but had less support to work with. Still, there are some that think Herbert should go ahead of Burrow and will have good reasons for it.

#13 Kyler Murray is another young quarterback who some would slide ahead of Burrow. But with a completely different skill set, and in a completely different offense, it’s hard to say for sure.

So is Burrow really a top-10 quarterback? At the very least, he’s on the bubble. That means he could be a top-10 quarterback using certain metrics, but he drops out using other metrics.

Burrow’s sweet spot is from #8-13, but it’s hard to pinpoint due to the lack of games he’s played. He still hasn’t played a full season, but what he’s shown in that time is phenomenal.

Few would dispute that Burrow has top-10 potential, it’s just a matter of living up to it. The only argument against is that the sample size is too small. But there’s no reason to doubt that he will live up to his potential, even with the injury rehab he’s gone through this offseason.