Unless the Cincinnati Bengals overthink the position they are in, they are expected to make Joe Burrow the first overall selection in this year’s draft. The 23-year-old is the consensus top prospect after leading LSU to the National Championship and winning the Heisman Trophy during his outstanding 2019 senior season — one that is drawing comparisons to the greatest quarterback the NFL has ever seen: the New England Patriots’ Tom Brady.
As far as comparisons and the expectations that come with them, the future Hall of Famer is the most difficult to live up to them. That being said, they are not (only) coming from some analysts trying to produce flashy headlines but also from a man who has spent considerable time with both Burrow and Brady: Kevin Faulk, who got to know Burrow as a member of LSU’s staff and has also played alongside Brady between 2000 and 2011.
NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah pointed this out during the combine broadcast earlier this week:
You see the comparison there. The poise, the pocket awareness and they both absolutely have that swagger. But Kevin Faulk on that staff at LSU. As the scouts have come rolling through there and they ask “Kevin, you’ve been in the NFL a long time. What do you think of this Burrow kid?” And he goes “I’m telling you this is Tom Brady. This kid reminds me so much of Tom Brady.” And I understand that’s the greatest of all-time and I know comparisons get people all upset. But when you watch them mechanically and you’re around their personalities, their leadership style, there’s a lot of similarities.
Comparing Burrow — possibly the most intriguing quarterback prospect to enter the draft since former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck in 2012 — to Brady may not necessarily be a service to the youngster in terms of setting expectations, but one can see why the two men draw comparisons in the first place: like Brady, Burrow is a technically sound drop-back passer who is terrific at making plays from inside the pocket.
Brady, of course, is the high-water mark for quarterbacks when it comes to technique and performing under the spotlight — something Burrow will have show when joining the NFL and a Bengals team that finished 2019 with a 2-14 record. As our friends over at Cincy Jungle put it, however, the soon-to-be first overall draft pick doesn’t need to duplicate Brady’s legendary career in order to be considered a successful draft selection:
Even if Burrow only ends up having a fraction of the career that Brady has had so far, it is safe to say that there will be plenty of kids being named Joe coming out of the Cincinnati area. For a franchise that hasn’t won a playoff game came in 1991, any sort of player who could come in and change the trajectory would be very well received (to say the least).
Nevertheless, you will hear plenty of comparisons between the talented LSU quarterback and most successful quarterback the NFL has ever seen over the next few weeks — especially with people like Faulk seeing a little bit of Brady in Burrow as well.