Todd McShay is a big fan of Joe Burrow, and believes he’ll be the No. 1 overall pick to the Cincinnati Bengals. He has him a shade below the elite tier of prospects though.
The top tier, in McShay’s system, has a cutoff grade of 95. This year, only one player reached that mark. Chase Young, Burrow’s former Ohio State teammate and a massive defensive gamebreaker this season, is the only “elite” player in this draft, according to the ESPN NFL Draft analyst.
Burrow isn’t far off, though. McShay gave him a ’94,’ and has him slotted in at the No. 2 spot. That grade ties him with Auburn DT Derrick Brown, Alabama WR Jerry Jeudy, Ohio State CB Jeff Okudah, and Clemson LB Isaiah Simmons. Tua Tagovailoa, Burrow’s main competition as the top quarterback in the draft, is a ’93,’ and also in that second tier.
Coming off of one of the best single seasons ever, it makes sense that there is some confusion over Joe Burrow’s grade. On ESPN’s Get Up! this morning, he explained that the single huge season is his biggest issue with the LSU quarterback. “If you just look at this year’s tape, I agree with you, he’s in that elite tier,” Todd McShay explained to his fellow analyst Dan Orlovsky, who asked about Burrow missing the elite tier. “But he went from a third, fourth-rounder a year ago to the second tier in my tier rankings and a 94 grade, which puts him ahead of Tua Tagovailoa and ahead of a lot of elite quarterbacks that have been in the NFL before.”
The Burrow vs. Tua debate has been a fascinating one during this NFL Draft process. McShay has previously said that, if health is guaranteed, he’d go with the Alabama gunslinger.
Burrow has the best individual season. Tua had the more consistent career, injuries aside, and was a Heisman-caliber player in multiple seasons.
As McShay said, entering the 2019 season, Joe Burrow was seen as a good leader and a nice game manager, better than what LSU has had recently but not the type of player that would elevate the Tigers to the next level. Obviously, that did not turn out to be the case, with Joe Brady reconstructing the offense and unlocking something in Burrow.
Still, the lack of long term elite play is a concern. If the Bengals can design an offense to get the most out of Burrow, the way that Brady did last fall, they should be very happy.