The 2020 NFL draft is slated to go ahead from April 23 to April 25, despite the global coronavirus pandemic wreaking havoc on the global sporting calendar. And while team officials are preparing for a virtual draft, much of the attention surrounding the event has been fixed squarely on the Cincinnati Bengals, and what they intend to do with their no.1 pick.

While not uncommon to see teams trade down from the no.1 spot (the San Diego Chargers traded the top pick in 2001 for Tim Dwight and three picks – one of which became LaDainian Tomlinson – to the Atlanta Falcons, who drafted Michael Vick), it is rare, which is why the Bengals are heavily slated to draft LSU quarterback Joe Burrow with that first pick.

And, if the Bengals do draft Burrow, the 23-year-old will have completed the third and final ‘requirement’ to achieving something only one other QB has done in the common draft era (1967).

Requirement 1: Win the Heisman Trophy

Created in 1935 by the Downtown Athletic Club, the Heisman Memorial Trophy (now known as the Heisman Trophy or The Heisman) honors the most outstanding player in college football on an annual basis. 

Joe Burrow: How the Cincinnati Bengals Can Help the QB Achieve History

While not always synonymous with success in the NFL, players who have been awarded the Heisman have gone on to achieve great things in the professional ranks. Notable winners include Hall of Famers Barry Sanders and Herschel Walker, and NFL MVP Lamar Jackson. 

Burrow broke numerous voting records on his way to winning the 2020 award after a season in which he led the NCAA in yards (5,671) and completion percentage (76.3), and set an NCAA record for touchdowns with 60 as LSU won the National Title.

Requirement 2: Win the National Championship in Your Final Collegiate Game

Burrow arguably saved his best college game for last, as the senior led his LSU Tigers to a commanding 42-25 victory over Clemson in the National Championship Game.

Joe Burrow: How the Cincinnati Bengals Can Help the QB Achieve History

Buoyed by a majority home crow in the Superdome in New Orleans, Burrow threw for 463 yards and six total touchdowns (five passing), earning the game’s offensive MVP. As mentioned, Burrow set a record with 60 passing touchdowns on the season, and also set another for a passer rating of 202.0. No wonder, therefore, that many sportswriters and analysts deemed the season to the greatest ever by a college quarterback.

Requirement 3: Be the no.1 Overall Pick in the NFL Draft

I mentioned that Burrow has the opportunity to match one other QB if he accomplishes all three requirements. That player is Cam Newton – who, at the time of writing, is a free agent. 

Joe Burrow: How the Cincinnati Bengals Can Help the QB Achieve History


After Newton won the Heisman and the National Championship with Auburn University in 2011, he was drafted 1st overall by the Carolina Panthers that same year. 

While Burrow’s collegiate career is already one for the record books, it’s now up to the Bengals to decide whether the quarterback will accomplish history, and match Newton’s extraordinary feat from 2011.


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