First off, let me state this is the area where teams most teams fail because they panic and over-reach at the Quarterback position. The difference is, at the NFL level the game is much tougher and the coverages are more diverse. So when grading a quarterback to play in the NFL I look at several important factors that can give us a good idea if he will translate to the big league. Today we are going to start off with LSU quarterback Joe Burrow. A lot has been said about only really having one great year so I was excited to watch this tape and really break down how Burrow’s game, so here we go.
1) Pocket Management: I like his foot quickness a lot and he has great body control as he moves inside of the pocket. He is able to move into an empty passing lane, set his feet and deliver the ball. He has the composure and patience which enables him to continue his search downfield and is not one to abandon the pocket prematurely. He plays fast but under control, which I love. Make no mistake about it, he runs to throw and has the athletic ability to get outside the OT while keeping his eyes downfield searching for the open receiver. His ability to keep his feet under him while throwing on the move is very impressive.
2) Ability to Throw the Receiver Open: This is an ability that quality quarterbacks like a Dak Prescott or Andy Dalton lack, and that’s why there is a ceiling on both of those players. Really, that’s the case for the majority of quarterbacks. A lot of the ability to throw a receiver open has to do with ball speed and angle. This has huge implications for both horizontal and vertical pass routes. To narrow it down, each route has a preferred ball location. Joe is able to take the majority of his passes and get them into the proper location and on a consistent basis. Getting the ball into the proper location produces additional run after the catch yards. Patrick Mahomes is great at this and it’s why he is a special player and has translated even better in the NFL than he did in college.
3) Arm Angle: Every pass should be on a straight line from the release point in the follow-through to the preferred ball location. This is obtained by a high and tight arm slot, which is his primary delivery configuration, and a minimizing of body rotation. Joe is stable in his delivery in both regards and it is a big factor in his ability to be so accurate on seemingly all of his passes. I also love the fact that he can throw the ball from various arm angles and alternative platforms, as dictated by various situations. These factors enable Joe to descend the ball and translate into his success in dominating the short and medium passes. This is actually an area where he throws the ball better than a Patrick Mahomes, who on “hot” routes sometimes has accuracy issues.
4) Intangibles: He is unflappable even after something goes wrong. It is huge to me that a quarterback shows no negative emotion. Nothing is worse than watching your leader mope around with his head down and Burrow does none of that. He is a consummate leader who is well-grounded on and off the field. He comes from a good family and his father has been a football coach all of his life, which means Joe has been around the game his whole life and that can’t hurt.
Overall Grade: A+
If the Bengals draft this kid they should start him right away. If they don’t draft him they will once again look like complete fools! He is the best quarterback prospect I have seen coming out of college since John Elway, and Elway is, to me, at worst a top-5 quarterback all-time. He makes every throw, he has great feet and great composure, and even more importantly, he is a great leader. Whoever drafts this kid, barring injury, will win a Super Bowl with him. Yes, he is that good.