Predicting Joe Burrow’s stats paints a bright future for the Bengals

The Cincinnati Bengals have lofty expectations for Joe Burrow in his rookie season, but just how well might the young gunslinger do?

The Cincinnati Bengals drafted Joe Burrow number 1 overall in the draft with the expectation that he would become their franchise quarterback. This is not an overnight process, however, and some growing pains are to be expected. Especially with a truncated off-season, the LSU product is behind the 8-ball. Diving into some other rookie quarterback seasons should highlight what Burrow is expected and capable of this year.

There are three quarterbacks who profile similarly to Joe Burrow in that they were selected very early in the draft with the idea they would become the franchise quarterback, and that they started the majority of games their rookie season. These three are Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray, and Mitch Trubisky. Joe Burrow was rated higher than any of these guys as a college quarterback, but with the lack of an off-season, he doesn’t have a significant edge. Due to this, we will consider all four of these quarterbacks relatively equal.

For starters, none of the quarterbacks posted a winning record in their first season. The 6-7 season posted by Baker Mayfield was easily the best winning percentage followed by Kyler Murray (5-10-1) and Mitch Trubisky (4-8). But winning percentage is not the biggest indicator of success, especially for rookies.

Two things that are indicative of how well a quarterback is playing is completion percentage and their touchdown to interception ratio. Murray leads the way in completion percentage with an impressive 64.4% which was followed closely by Mayfield’s 63.8%. Trubisky lagged behind with only 59.4% of his passes being completed.

Touchdown to interception ratio again shows that Mayfield (27 touchdowns to 14 interceptions) and Murray (20 touchdowns to 12 interceptions) far outpaced Trubisky (7 touchdowns to 7 interceptions).

Joe Burrow’s statistical range

Setting Trubisky as a floor rather than an expectation for Burrow seems wise considering the low stats he posted in his first year. Taking the average of Murray and Mayfield could give a good indicator of how Joe Burrow could perform this year. Those numbers come out to:

  • 6-7 wins over the course of a full season
  • 64.1% completion
  • 24 touchdowns to 13 interceptions

This stat line has a lot of similarities with Andy Dalton’s 2016 season when he had 7 wins, 64.7% completed passes, and 18 touchdowns to 8 interceptions. This was the end of Dalton’s really good stretch in Cincinnati before he saw a decline in performance over the last few years.

If Joe Burrow can start off his career with a season comparable to top tier Andy Dalton, the Bengals should be happy with their new franchise quarterback.

Next: Bold predictions for the Bengals’ other six rookies in 2020