Joe Burrow remains the overwhelming pick to be the first name off the board in the 2020 NFL Draft, even though there have been suggestions that he could refuse to play for the team that currently holds the number one spot, the Cincinnati Bengals.
Burrow enjoyed the greatest single season in the history NCAA college football as he lead the LSU Tigers to the National Championship last season, dominating Clemson 42-25 in the championship game, and once he the young quarterback declared that he would entering the draft there was no question over whether or not he would be the first pick overall.
That meant Cincinnati would be an almost inevitable destination for Burrow following the Bengals’ miserable 2-14 season in 2019 that guaranteed them the number one pick in April, but that situation has got a little muddier in recent weeks with many suggesting that the 23-year-old should consider refusing to play for the team.
Burrow would not be the first college star to do that – John Elway refused to play for the Baltimore Colts despite being drafted by them in 1983, and Eli Manning pulled the same trick back in 2004 when he made it clear in no uncertain terms would he play for the San Diego Chargers, forcing them to immediately trade him to the New York Giants with Philip Rivers heading in the other direction.
But could Burrow follow in their footsteps? He hardly seemed committed to the Cincinnati cause when he spoke recently with the Forth Worth Star-Telegram.
“I do have leverage,” he told the newspaper. “They have their process and I have my process. We haven’t even gotten to the [NFL Scouting] Combine yet. There’s a lot of things that happen leading up to the draft and a lot of information gathered.
“Right now, I’m focused on being the best football player I can be. I’m in this unique spot. You can go watch my film. I don’t have to prove myself at pro day and at the combine, so I’m in a unique spot where I can focus on getting ready for the year.”
So how has this affected the NFL Draft betting? The answer is ‘not at all’.
Burrow remains the overwhelming favourite to be the first pick overall at 1/28 with bet365, with the bookmaker clearly feeling like the Bengals are more likely to draft him and then trade him rather than give up the first overall pick.
Ohio State defensive end is the 10/1 second favourite to be the number one pick overall, but with Andy Dalton set to leave Cincinnati it is clear that the Bengals will be looking for a quarterback in the early stages of the draft and if they do make the shock decision to simply snub Burrow and pick another QB first, the leading candidates are Alabama standout Tua Tagovailoa and highly-rated Oregon prospect Justin Herbert at 16/1 and 22/1 respectively.