Do you remember when the whole world, outside of Bengals fans, said Joe Burrow couldn’t win in Cincinnati, and he’d be better off saying he wouldn’t play for the downtrodden team, similar to what Eli Manning and John Elway did?
Well, that didn’t happen, Burrow rode into town like a white night on his noble steed, put the team on his back, and, after an injury setback, took the Bengals to a Super Bowl and then the AFC Championship the next year.
He, along with head coach Zac Taylor and the rest of the staff, have ushered in a new era that long-time Bengals fans never thought they’d see in their lifetimes.
That’s probably why Sports Illustrated listed Joe Burrow as the third-best drafted player over the last 10 years.
“This is where the list starts getting tough,” SI’s Gilberto Manzano wrote. “Maybe it’s too soon to have Burrow ranked this high, but he quickly established himself as an elite quarterback, and he might be only second to Mahomes when it comes to quarterback rankings. Don’t let the short list of accolades fool you. Burrow has already guided the Bengals to a Super Bowl and turned them into a winning organization after years of distress as an afterthought franchise.”
If you were wondering where Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes landed, it’s at No. 1. The only other player higher than Burrow on the list is LA Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who comes in at No. 2.
While retired Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer believes Burrow is better than Mahomes, Manzano doesn’t agree. However, that could change over the next few years. Burrow is 3-1 against Mahomes and the Chiefs, but Mahomes does have two Lombardi Trophies to his name.
Burrow led all quarterbacks, according to Pro Football Focus, in the 2022 season with a 91.0 passing score. Mahomes was second with a 90.1. Josh Allen, Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa rounded out the top five. Burrow’s 2022 campaign earned him a spot as an MVP finalist (Mahomes won), and he was within three points of leading the Bengals to their second consecutive Super Bowl berth.
Considering Mahomes has won two Super Bowls and Donald is possibly the greatest defensive player of a generation, the No. 3 spot is nothing to complain about.
Others on the list behind Burrow include:
- Travis Kelce, No. 4
- Nick Bosa, No. 7
- Tyreek Hill, No. 8
- T.J. Watt, No. 9
- Derrick Henry, No. 13
- Josh Allen, No. 14
- Justin Jefferson, No. 16
- Justin Herbert, No. 19
- Chris Jones, No. 20
There was a list of honorable mentions, and Ja’Marr Chase was the first to be mentioned. If he, and possibly Tee Higgins have a repeat of their 2021 and 2022 seasons, I could imagine more than one player finding his way onto this list. Other honorable mentions include Stefon Diggs, Christian McCaffrey, George Kittle, Ezekiel Elliot, Sauce Gardner, and Lamar Jackson.