As the LSU Tigers dominate college football with an offense Baton Rouge has never seen before, star quarterback Joe Burrow ascended from an unknown graduate transfer at Ohio State to the Heisman Trophy frontrunner. The 6-foot-4 quarterback is sharp as a tack, commands the game well above his colleagues, and knocked off ranked teams like Texas, Florida and Auburn during his meteoric rise. The hype is so real that Burrow snuck into the conversation as the top quarterback of the 2020 NFL Draft, and possibly, the No. 1 overall pick.
Several draft analysts now project Burrow as the No. 1 pick by the Cincinnati Bengals, followed at No. 2 by Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa going to the Miami Dolphins. While both carry concerns about overall talent and durability, sure-fire prospects like the Ohio State duo of Chase Young and Jeff Okudah, plus Georgia tackle Andrew Thomas, slide in behind them.
But Joe Burrow? How did this guy suddenly become the greatest player in the 2020 NFL Draft?
His rise is certainly unexpected, and his uncanny knack for making big plays despite less-than-desirable measurables makes him an enigma. Still, the numbers don’t lie.
Burrow’s praise is getting so wild that ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper compared him to one of the NFL’s most recognizable signal callers of the modern era: former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo.
“Burrow has ascended way up the board. He reminds me a lot of Tony Romo with his delivery and the way he manipulates the pocket,” Kiper said on ESPN’s Monday Night Countdown (via 247Sports). “But Joe Brady has made Joe Burrow the player that he is, coming from the Saints with that new offense and all of the sudden Joe Burrow is a top 10 guy.”
Tony Romo’s College Career
Undrafted in 2003 out of Eastern Illinois, the three-time All-American and 2002 Walter Payton Award winner — the Heisman Trophy of FCS football — needed several years before taking over as Dallas’ starter in 2006. From that point, Romo went on to earn four Pro Bowl selections, was a Second-Team All-Pro in 2014, and retired with numerous Cowboys and NFL records, including being Dallas’ single-season and all-time leader in passing yards and passing touchdowns.
My favorite stat for all you Romo haters? He retired as the highest-rated fourth quarter passer in NFL history.
So before you bash a potential Burrow-Romo comparison, let’s think about this: Is that actually a bad thing?
Clutch factor? They both have it.
Similar play style and elite mind for the game? Check.
Historic senior seasons that boosted their status? You better believe it.
Both wear the No. 9 jersey. Should I continue with weird coincidences?
It’ll be interesting to see how Burrow’s pro career plays out after Mel Kiper’s comparison to Romo. If the LSU product puts together anything close to Romo’s legacy, then people will think back to his time at Louisiana State University, rewriting record books under head coach Ed Orgeron’s guidance, as the turning point for this kid.