NFL executives and coaches split on Joe Burrow's potential

James Rapien

The Bengals took Joe Burrow with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. 

Most analysts praised Cincinnati for taking the Heisman Trophy winner with the top selection.  

Not everyone in the NFL feels the same way. 

"He played with arguably the best college football team of all time," an NFL assistant coach told Sports Illustrated. "He's good, but the hype isn't real."

That coach isn't the only one that isn't on the 'Burrow train.'

“If I were their GM, I’d play free agency for the quarterback, take Chase Young, a once-in-a-generation talent, and get a Joe Burrow at a different time,” one general manager told Mike Sando of The Athletic. 

“I have concerns,” another said. “He does not have a lot of power or strength in his arm at all. He is a one-year producer. Love the brain, like the short accuracy. He is Alex Smith-like, and Alex was the No. 1 pick in the draft, nothing wrong with that.”

Naturally, there are going to be doubters. That's part of the pressure that comes with being the No. 1 pick. 

“You don’t think about it [pressure], you just continue to work really hard and do what got you here," Burrow said moments after being drafted. "I’m the No. 1 pick, but it doesn’t mean anything in four months, so I’m going to continue to work really hard to be the best player that I can be for this team, for this franchise and this city.”

The Bengals' organization doesn't have any doubts about Burrow. They treated him like any other prospect during the evaluation process, which ended with him at the top of their board. 

"Both statistically, and just watching him, he is the most accurate I’ve graded in the NFL so far," offensive coordinator Brian Callahan said. "The only guy that was probably close in terms of (being) a total package was Andrew Luck when he came out. He (Burrow) is exceptionally accurate. It’s by far one of his greatest strengths.” 

Plenty of coaches and players believe in Burrow, but everyone has their doubters. He just wants to win.  

"I’m going to work as hard as I can to bring winning to Cincinnati," Burrow said. "Whatever they need me to do, I’m going to do it."

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Comments (12)
No. 1-6

I am a 49ers fan and have no dog in this fight. But, Montana was great because of his ability to read the defenses and his accuracy by placing the ball to his receivers so they never had to break stride. Bernie Kozar had an average arm at best and carved up defenses. I will take a quick mind and accuracy over arm strength any day. Burrows has these traits and played against the best of the best week in and week out and destroyed teams loaded with NFL caliber players. Cincy HAD to draft him and no one will second guess them if Burrows is less than advertised. It is now up to the Cincy coaches to develop a proper offensive scheme with the proper personnel to allow Burrow to flourish.


The Chase Young thing is such a bad take. Look at Chicago last year with Mack. A great defender can’t make up for a sub-par QB, and Andy wasn’t chased out of town, we all wanted him to be a HoF QB... he just wasn’t. When you have a chance to take the best QB in the draft, you take that chance because it could change the franchise forever.


What gets me is this, when Wentz came out they worried because he didn’t face high enough competition, Burrow & Tua come out having faced the highest competition and they say well they had all that talent around them!! WTH!!


Bengals were smart to take him. They are hamstrung by the reality that many free agent QB’s have no interest in playing in or living in Cincinnati. Good for them that a local-ish kid is available at the top of the draft when they are in the market for a QB. Chase Young may prove to be a generational talent, but you can pass rush by committee, you can’t quarterback that way.


Can't wait for the season to begin!


The sky is falling critics. Burrow has a chance, with good coaching, line play and health of being a consistent winner. Montana and Brees didn't have big arm talent either.