PFF Ranks Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert and Tua Tagovailoa's Outlook Moving Forward

Pro Football Focus thinks Burrow will still be the best quarterback in his draft class
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CINCINNATI — Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow only played 10 games as a rookie after suffering a season-ending left knee injury in Cincinnati's Week 11 loss to Washington. 

The 24-year-old gave the organization a glimpse of what the future could like in the Queen City. 

Burrow completed 65.3% of his passes for 2,688 yards, 13 touchdowns and five interceptions. He gave the Bengals a chance to win most of their games, despite playing behind a make shift offensive line and not having a true deep threat. 

Pro Football Focus is optimistic that Burrow will still be the top quarterback in the 2020 draft class, despite suffering a serious injury. 

"The reason Burrow gets the top spot projecting forward as opposed to the likely Rookie of the Year Justin Herbert is that the things he did well are more stable," PFF analyst Mike Renner wrote. "The Bengals quarterback was lights-out on intermediate passes as a rookie. His 92.5 passing grade ranked fifth among all quarterbacks in the NFL. The only quarterbacks ahead of him were Patrick Mahomes, Russell Wilson, Deshaun Watson and Aaron Rodgers. That’s not bad company to keep. It was only the fourth time a rookie has graded over 90.0 on such throws—with Robert Griffin III, Dak Prescott and Wilson being the other three. His feel and creativity at that level were already elite.

The only question at this point is whether the Bengals can fix their offensive line and Burrow can return fully healthy from his gruesome knee injury. If that happens, bet on Burrow grading out as a top-10 quarterback in 2021."

Renner did note Burrow's struggles with the deep ball are an area of concern. Part of that has to do with the Bengals' personnel, but the 24-year-old definitely needs to improve in that area after being great at throwing downfield in his final season at LSU. 

Burrow knows his deep ball has to be better in 2021. Part of his struggles have to do with time in the pocket, but he also needs his receivers to get more separation. 

"Just getting bigger and stronger. Hopefully we have an in-person offseason and just being able to watch guys run routes," Burrow said on Tuesday. "I won't be able to throw to them, but just having extra time with the guys and understanding how they do it I think that [the deep ball] won't be an issue next year."

PFF did praise Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert and understands why Los Angeles fans would take him over Burrow and vice versa. 

"He’s close enough to Burrow after his rookie season to say that while Bengals fans wouldn’t give up Burrow for Herbert, Chargers fans wouldn’t give up Herbert for Burrow, either."

Read Renner's entire breakdown of Burrow, Herbert and Tua Tagovailoa here. 


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