The Bengals selected the second-best prospect of the Pro Football Focus era (since 2015) when they drafted quarterback Joe Burrow with the top pick of the 2020 NFL Draft. Former Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence who is expected to be the top pick of the 2021 NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars is ranked first.
Burrow and Lawrence ranked as part of “The PFF Era Draft Big Board: The top 50 NFL draft prospects since 2015.” The rankings are the ultimate draft big board by the pre-eminent sports metric site. PFF is based locally in Cincinnati and NBC NFL analyst and former Bengal Cris Collinsworth is a majority owner.
PFF summarizes the 2019 season Burrow had leading LSU to the National Championship. Burrow arguably had the best season by a college football history. In a 15-0 season, Burrow completed 76.3 percent of his passes for 5,671 yards, averaged 10.8 yards per attempt with 60 touchdowns and six interceptions.
Burrow began his NFL career as one of the most anticipated entrants into the league in recent memory. Lawrence could be the most anticipated QB entering the NFL since Peyton Manning entered the NFL in 1998 or at least since Andrew Luck in 2012. Lawrence’s best seasons never approached Burrow’s 2019.
"2. QB JOE BURROW, LSU“No other college quarterback has dominated top competition the way Burrow did in 2019. He faced top defense after top defense and put them on the turf, with his lowest-graded game still coming in at an above-average 70.4.”"
Burrow had the third-highest completion percentage in the history of college football in 2019. Mac Jones set the record with Alabama by completing 77.4 percent of his pass attempts in 2020. Burrow also had the third-most passing yards, set the record for TD passes and set the passing efficiency record since broken by Jones.
Should Lawrence be drafted by Jacksonville as expected, he and Burrow will have a showdown for the second time in their football careers. LSU capped their National Championship in January 2020 with a 42-25 victory over Clemson and Lawrence in the Superdome in New Orleans in front of their home crowd.