Joe Burrow will be the first quarterback taken in the 2020 NFL Draft. It is usually silly to predict something like this in December, but not this year. His main competition, Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa, has suffered an injury that will lower his draft stock. Oregon QB Justin Herbert still has a ways to go with decision-making and leadership skills. Georgia QB Jake Fromm lacks the strength and mobility needed to be a star. Other quarterbacks in this class could develop into starters in the right system, but no one is anything close to a lock.
There are still three games left for each NFL team before the final draft order is set. Given the current standings and projected finishes for each team, let’s take a look at the potential landing spots for Burrow:
Cincinnati Bengals (currently projected 1st)
If they stick with this pick, the Bengals need to commit to Joe. Burrow has the arm strength and accuracy to make plays for the quality set of receivers that this team could roll out in 2020. He has a quick release and an ability to extend plays that could buy time for the Bengals to develop a better offensive line. Most importantly, he is a star runningback’s dream. Joe Mixon would benefit greatly from a QB who could stretch the defense and open up space and lanes for him to rush or receive through. If Cincinnati passes on Joe Burrow, no other QB would succeed in the Bengals’ current system.
Miami Dolphins (currently projected 4th)
The Dolphins have two more late picks in the first round that could be used to trade up for Joe Burrow. Depending on how the offseason goes, however, they could luck into getting him at their current projected 4th pick. Burrow would be in a similar situation in Miami as he would be in Cincinnati. The receiving core is not amazing, but if Devante Parker could extend his late-season production into next year, then there is hope. Miami has plenty of picks in the first and second round that can be used to give Burrow some more weapons. As would be the case with the Bengals, Burrow would still need to use his ability to extend plays in Miami for quite some time. His chances of immediate and long-term success are better in Cincinnati, but Miami would not be the end of the world for the young QB.
Los Angeles Chargers (currently projected 10th)
This is my favorite landing spot for Burrow. There is no way Cincinnati and Miami pass up on the LSU product AND no other team jumps ahead of the Chargers for the QB. Los Angeles would need to engineer a trade up. This immediately, however, vaults the Chargers into Super Bowl contention. The team has talent at every position. It is no accident that they possess a record number of games lost by fewer than 7 points. The Chargers need a leader and a winner. Beyond all of his talents at the quarterback position, a winner is precisely what Burrow is.
Carolina Panthers (currently projected 11th)
Almost as great of a landing spot as the Chargers, Carolina would also have to move up for Burrow. Whatever the price is would be worth it. The Panthers are close to being a Super Bowl contender and acquiring Burrow would help them get there. If they devote the rest of their top draft resources to beefing up their defensive line, Burrow and weapons like Samuel, Moore, and McCaffrey could take care of the rest. Plus, it would be just like the Chargers to allow the team behind them in draft order jump ahead of them to pick a franchise-changing QB.
Indianapolis Colts (currently projected 14th)
Jacoby Brissett is serviceable, at best. He is not a star. Burrow would take the Colts exactly where they need to be. I cannot imagine what Indianapolis would have to give up to identify the next star to succeed the likes of Manning and Luck, but it would definitely be a king’s ransom. With that defense, that offensive line, and a few young studs at receiver, the Super Bowl would become a real possibility for the Colts. Burrow’s career would take off on the right foot if it started at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Las Vegas Raiders (currently projected 15th and 18th)
The Raiders might move on from Derek Carr. Burrow, however, would not fare much better. Oakland, soon to be Las Vegas, has a number of holes on both sides of the football. Fortunately, they have a pool of draft picks and GM Mike Mayock hit it out of the ballpark with his 2019 draft selections. Unless he repeats this selection success in 2020, however, Burrow would be stagnated in his rookie season with the Raiders.