CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Welcome to Cincinnati, Joe.
After months of speculation, anticipation and mock drafts, the Cincinnati Bengals made it official Thursday night by picking quarterback Joe Burrow first overall in the 2020 NFL Draft.
General Manager Duke Tobin made the pick virtually in the league’s first-ever remote draft, a precaution against the spread of COVID-19.
“It’s a dream come true,” Burrow told ESPN after the pick.
He later tweeted: “Enough talk. Time to get to work.”
Head coach Zac Taylor called Burrow a “proven winner” with a high football IQ and an “earned confidence.”
Offensive coordinator Brian Callahan said Burrow is the most accurate college quarterback he’s ever evaluated.
“He’s pretty dang good,” Taylor said.
Asked if the Bengals entertained offers for the pick, Taylor said no.
“We were steadfast in the guy we were going to take, we believe in the guy, and there was nothing that could make us trade that away,” Taylor explained in a live-streamed interview Thursday night.
Taylor said no sort of recruitment was necessary in the lead-up to the pick, adding Burrow already has relationships with players on the team.
Speaking to the expectations for the franchise going forward, said Taylor: “We don’t want to pick in the top 10 ever again."
Burrow, a product of Athens, Ohio, is fresh off arguably the best season in NCAA football history.
The precision passer held the keys to an LSU Tigers team that finished the 2019-20 season undefeated, dismantling opponents en route to a National Championship.
He celebrated the pick Thursday evening with his family and a select few friends and former coaches inside his home.
Jeremy Rauch: Joe Burrow’s journey to franchise-changing quarterback
Friends and youth coaches describe Burrow as an unusually intense, highly competitive person.
He would bring those traits to Ohio State after graduating from Athens High School. But with a loaded quarterback room and little playing time, Burrow, still much-beloved by the Buckeye fan base, transferred to LSU following his redshirt-junior year.
The quarterback put together a competitive first campaign in a notoriously conservative offense system before breaking out in 2019 with 60 touchdown passes, 5,567 yards and a 202 passer efficiency rating
All are NCAA records.
New offensive passing analyst Joe Brady, who arrived at LSU from the New Orleans Saints before Burrow’s senior year, is partially credited for his success.
Joe Danneman: Bengals players impressed by Burrow: ‘He’s real’
The All American quarterback added the following hardware for his trophy case:
- 2019 AP Player of the Year Award
- 2019 Davey O’Brien Award (Most Outstanding Quarterback)
- 2019 Heisman Memorial Trophy
- 2019 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award (Most Outstanding Senior Quarterback)
- 2019 Manning Award (Most Outstanding Quarterback)
- 2019 Maxwell Award (Player of the Year)
- 2019 SEC Offensive Player of the Year
- 2019 Walter Camp Player of the Year Award (Most Outstanding Player)
The top pick will have his work cut out for him. Cincinnati is coming off of a 2-14 season and entering its second year under first-time head coach Zac Taylor.
Still, Burrow will have a slew of talented playmakers at his disposal: Joe Mixon, Tyler Boyd and AJ Green.
Protecting the quarterback will be a challenge though. The Bengals offensive line ranked 30th in the league last year, according to Over-The-Rhine-based Pro Football Focus.
Conceivably the team could look at beefing up its line with one of its six other picks in the 2020 Draft.
As for when we will get our first chance at seeing the home-state kid suit up in the orange and black, that’s still an unknown. The 2020 NFL schedule hasn’t been released yet.