Joe Burrow vs. Chase Young: The battle between the two top picks
The top two picks from the 2020 NFL draft, Joe Burrow and Chase Young, are slated to face each other for the first time in their professional careers.
When Joe Burrow and Chase Young line up across from one another on Sunday, it won’t be the first time the pair has crossed paths. Long before Burrow traded in his purple and gold for the Cincinnati Bengals’ orange and black, he found himself in the scarlet and grey of the Ohio State Buckeyes, along with Young.
The two would go on to have vastly different outcomes in Columbus, with Burrow transferring to the bayou to become the savior of the LSU football program, while Young remained in America’s fastest-growing city to lead the ferocious defense of Ohio’s most beloved football team.
Although the two parted ways after one season, Young still came away impressed with Burrow. He had this to say about Cincinnati’s star quarterback this week in a press conference,
"“Joe was a real good leader. He led by example. He was always real composed in everything he did…He’s definitely a guy you want leading your team for sure.”"
Young’s comments should come as no surprise. It seems that every player that has seen Burrow operate comes away with the same conclusion: He’s the real deal when it comes to leaders.
Joe Burrow and Chase Young cross paths at the Heisman ceremony
Burrow and Young went on to dominate their respective conferences, the SEC for Burrow and the Big-Ten for Young. But their stellar play once again caused their paths to cross. The two found themselves in contention for the coveted Heisman Trophy.
As fans of the Bengals are well aware, Burrow ended up coming away with the award, earning 841 first-place votes. Young found himself in the fourth slot, netting 20 first-place votes.
The one vs. two NFL draft debate
Before it became a foregone conclusion that Zac Taylor and the Bengals would opt to take Joe Burrow, a serious debate arose about whether Cincinnati should select Young. The Washington Football Team’s man at the helm, Ron Rivera, seemed to validate the Bengals’ choice when he had this to say to reporters over the past week,
"“We think Joe is the full package. We really do. We think Chase is the full package. Depending on what Cincinnati did, that’s what we were going to do. The opposite. We didn’t think we would lose out either way. We really didn’t.”"
That’s high praise from the opposition, but again, comes as no surprise.
Circling back to present day, when Burrow and Young face each other in week 11, it won’t be nearly as glamorous as their previous encounters. Neither of them are competing for championships and there is no hardware to be won.
However, that doesn’t mean the outcome won’t weigh heavily in the grand scheme of things. The battle between number one and number two will give fans an indicator of how the duo will attempt to lead their squads out of the cellar of their respective conferences.
Burrow and Young aren’t likely to cross paths many more times in the future, as Washington finds themselves in the NFC and Cincinnati calls the AFC home. But who knows, if their current career arcs continue to trend the way they are, the two could cross paths once more in Canton when it’s all said and done.