Joe Burrow seventh, Tee Higgins snubbed by ESPN 10 best first-years of 2020

Jacksonville Jaguars At Cincinnati Bengals Oct 4
Jacksonville Jaguars At Cincinnati Bengals Oct 4 /

Joe Burrow was on pace to contend for NFL Rookie of the Year with Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert. Burrow had the seventh-best first year in 2020 according to ESPN in an article titled “NFL Rookie Rankings 2020: Justin Herbert vs. Justin Jefferson, Chase Young vs. Jeremy Chinn, more.”

Joe Burrow was on track for a comparable season to Herbert before suffering the season-ending torn ACL week 11 against Washington. Projected over a full season, Burrow was on pace to throw for 4,527 yards, nearly 22 touchdowns, throw between eight and nine interceptions and he had completed 65.3 percent of his passes.

Herbert completed 66.6 percent of his passes for 4,336  31 TDs and 10 interceptions. Burrow was on pace for run for 239 yards and five TDs. Herbert ran for 234 yards and five TDs. Herbert would have likely beaten Burrow for Rookie of the Year with significantly more TD passes. Everything else was nearly even.

With Burrow and Herbert clearly the two best QBs in the 2020 NFL Draft, their careers will likely be forever linked. The franchises could be headed towards becoming two of the AFC Rivals contending for Superbowls in the future. The Chargers defeated the Bengals 27-10 in the 2014 wildcard round.

"7. Joe Burrow, QB, Cincinnati BengalsStats: 2,688 yards, 65.3% completion rate, 13 TDs, 5E INTs (142 rushing yards, 3 TDs)Drafted: No. 1 overallHe played in 10 games before suffering a season-ending knee injury, but he was still the first rookie to have three consecutive 300-yard passing games. In fact, he finished with five of them in those 10 games. His 406-yard effort in Week 7 was one of just 12 400-yard passing games overall in the 2020 regular season."

Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins was named one of four rookies who just missed. Higgins had 67 receptions for 908 yards and six TDs. Higgins led the Bengals in receiving yards and receiving TDs and was second to Tyler Boyd who had 79 receptions. Higgins is the third-ranked rookie receiver by ESPN.

"Just missedTee Higgins, WR, Cincinnati BengalsIt shouldn’t be a shock his production took a significant hit when Burrow suffered his injury; Higgins (the 33rd pick in April) had both of his 100-yard games and three of his four games with at least six receptions with Burrow behind center. He also averaged at least 15.5 yards per catch in four of the 10 games Burrow started.But he deserves a lot of recognition for a 908-yard season."

Minnesota Vikings WR Justin Jefferson had 88 receptions for 1,400 yards and seven TDs in 2020 after leading LSU in receptions during the 2019 College Football Playoff National Championship season catching passes from Burrow. Jefferson was drafted 22nd overall in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft.

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Jefferson had the second-best rookie season in 2020 according to ESPN. Pittsburgh Steelers WR Chase Claypool had the 10th best season per ESPN. Claypool had 62 receptions, 873 yards, nine receiving TDs and two rushing TDs in 2020. Claypool was a second-round pick, 49th overall by Pittsburgh in the 2020 NFL Draft.