The Cincinnati Bengals “earned” the top pick in this year’s draft with a 2-14 record in 2019, and their draft selection was a no-brainer in Heisman Trophy winner and record-setting LSU quarterback Joe Burrow. Here are Burrow’s odds at Mybookie to win 2020 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year as well as the Bengals’ over/under win total.
Burrow was the fourth all-time No. 1 overall pick by the Bengals, joining Dan Wilkinson, Ki-Jana Carter and Carson Palmer.
All Burrow did last year was have the greatest season ever of any FBS quarterback in leading LSU to the national championship. No one saw that coming.
In his first season as a starter in 2018 after transferring from Ohio State, Burrow was good but not great. He had a 10-3 mark as the starter, leading LSU to five wins over Top 25 teams, including four over teams ranked in the Top 10. Burrow became the first player in LSU history to throw for 2,500 yards and rush for at least 350 yards in a season.
He finished completing 219-of-379 passes for 2,894 yards, 16 touchdowns and only five interceptions while rushing for 399 yards and seven TDs on 128 carries. The seven TDs tied an LSU single-season record for a QB. In LSU’s Fiesta Bowl win over Central Florida, threw for a then career-best 394 yards and tied a school bowl record with four passing TDs
Perhaps the Fiesta Bowl success gave a hint to what was coming last year. Burrow completed 402-of-527 passes for 5,671 yards, 60 TDs and only six interceptions. He became the only player in SEC history to throw for 5,000 yards and 50 TDs in a season. He set NCAA single-season record for TD passes (60) and total touchdowns (65) and his 76.3 completion percentage ranks No. 2 in NCAA history for a season. Burrow also set SEC records for completions, attempts, passing yards, passing TDs, total TDs, completion percentage, total yards (6,039), total yards per game (402.6), and total plays (642).
In the College Football Playoff blowout of Oklahoma, Burrow tied the SEC record with seven TD passes and set the league mark for TDs accounted for with eight (added a rushing TD). He threw for 493 yards on 29-of-39 passing in win over the Sooners. He set CFP Semifinal records for passing yards in a half (403) and a game (493), total yards (515), TD passes (7), TDs responsible for (8), consecutive completions (11), and points responsible for (48).
Against a stellar Clemson defense in the national title game win, Burrow was 31-for-49 463 yards and five TDs in LSU’s 42-25 win. He was Named Offensive Player of the Game as he also rushed for 58 yards and a TD. Burrow would win his final 16 starts overall, which ranks as the second-longest winning streak for the position in school history (trails only Warren Rabb, 19 straight wins from 1957-59)
Burrow joined Billy Cannon (1959) as LSU’s second Heisman Trophy winner, and Burrow won the Heisman Trophy by the largest margin in the 85-year history of the award. He was a unanimous All-American, the first quarterback and 10th player in LSU history to earn the honor. He won essentially every possible award possible.
Burrow doesn’t possess great athleticism or arm strength, but he more than makes up for it with pin-point accuracy and play-making ability. A former all-state high school basketball player in Ohio, Burrow also flashed elusiveness with 24.5 rushing yards per game as an underrated scrambler.
Second-year Bengals coach Zac Taylor believes Burrow is the ideal fit for his offense: “He’s a proven winner. He throws with anticipation. He has a great football IQ. He can diagnose defenses as well as anyone we’ve studied. He can create off-schedule plays as well. He does a great job keeping his eyes up in the pocket and eluding defenders. They have great coaches and players at LSU, but there are some times where a defense gets you. He still had the ability to create and extend plays. Those are traits you can’t pass up.”
Cincinnati has had two NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year winners, last receiver Carl Pickens in 1992. The Bengals open the season as short underdogs on Sept. 13 at home vs. the LA Chargers.