Sports Journalism Blog

By Andrew Thomison | @Andrew_Thomison

Sports Capital Journalism Program

With the 2020 National Football League draft less than two months away, quarterback Joe Burrow, who is expected to be chosen first by the Cincinnati Bengals, eliminated any uncertainty surrounding his draft status Tuesday morning.

“I’ll play for whoever drafts me,” Burrow said at the annual Scouting Combine. “I’m just not going to be presumptuous about what they (the Bengals), want to do. It’s the draft. You guys have been covering it for a long time. You never know what’s going to happen.”

While Burrow may not want to be presumptuous, the Heisman-winning quarterback of the Louisiana State University national champions is viewed as the No. 1 overall pick.

“Yeah, of course, I want to be the first pick,” Burrow said. “That’s every kid’s dream. I’ve worked really, really hard for this opportunity, I’m blessed to be in this position, and a lot of people helped get me here. So, I’m just really excited.”

Burrow told reporters he will not work out at the Combine. He cited the length of Louisiana State’s 15-0 season, which did not end until the Tigers defeated Clemson in the College Football Playoff National Championship on January 13.

“It was a grueling season,” he said, “and this is a grueling week. When you play 15 games — I mean, we basically played an NFL season. We were playing into the first week of the playoffs, so I think the length of the (NFL) season is really going to help me next year.”

Presumptions and speculations aside, Burrow spoke on the excitement he had when asked about meeting with teams – specifically the Bengals – and what he could learn during that process.

“We’re just going to talk ball,” he said. “Just like every other team, I’m excited to get to know what their offense looks like. What they see for me. If I can better at something. I’m always trying to learn, always trying to improve.”

Burrow set Football Bowl Subdivision records with 60 touchdown passes and 65 touchdowns responsible for during a Heisman Trophy season. He threw for 5,671 yards. In the College Football Playoff victories over Oklahoma and Clemson, Burrow completed 60 of 88 passes for 956 yards and 12 touchdowns. 

Burrow, although exhilarated about the possibility of being as the No. 1 pick, made sure to highlight the importance of landing in the most useful spot that would allow him the opportunity to have the most long-term success.

“Yeah. I think with any quarterback, fit is important,” he said. “But you don’t have a lot of say in the draft. Whoever picks you, picks you. You’ve got to go play. So I’m going to try to make whoever picks me work. I think that my skill set is really diverse that it can fit in a lot of different schemes, so I’m going to try and be the best player I can for whoever drafts me, Burrow continued.”

Burrow understands that, when coming in as a rookie quarterback, it’s best to have an open mindset, while learning from as many people as possible.

“So, as a rookie, you want to come in, keep your head down, and work really hard,” he said. “I’m going to try and find a veteran that’s done it for ten plus years and try to just mimic what he does. I’m going to be a rookie. I’m not going to know a lot of things, but I know how to work. So I’m going to work as hard as I can, and when my time comes to be a leader and be the starting quarterback, I’ll do whatever is asked of me.”