FORT WORTH, Texas —
The reward for being one of the best college football players in going in the top-5 of the NFL Draft. However, teams that are picking that high aren't among the best teams in pro football.
The Cincinnati Bengals, Washington, Detroit Lions, New York Giants, and Miami Dolphins finished at the bottom of their respective divisions, and Washington and New York already have young first-round picks from 2019 under center. That means Burrow could go to a franchise that, between the three of them, have one playoff win combined since 2000.
Finally getting paid well to play the sport, "from the penthouse to the outhouse" wouldn’t really describe the journey former LSU Tigers quarterback Joe Burrow is about to take in the next six months. However, the College Football Playoff national championship winner knows the wake-up call he will receive when he gets to the NFL.
"You know, something that I think I've prided myself in is being a winner," Burrow told reporters at the Fort Worth Club Monday while receiving the Davey O'Brien Award. "I've never had a losing season in any sport in my life. So, I think I'm going to do everything I can to win football games. That's what's important to me.
"All these awards are nice, but I want to be a winner on a winning team."
Being a Davey O'Brien Award winner, an honor bestowed upon the nation's best college quarterback means going to a losing team. The last Davey O'Brien Award winner to go to a winning team was 2015-16 winner Deshaun Watson, who went to the 9-7 Houston Texans in 2017, fresh off a wild-card playoff win.
If Burrow goes to the Bengals, who have the No. 1 overall pick, he will be going to a franchise that has not won a postseason game since the 1990 AFC wild-card, and have lost in the first round seven times since with their last attempt coming in 2015.
Former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Steve Bartkowski, who won the Davey O'Brien Award in 1974, went to a club that finished 3-11 in 1974, the third-worst record in the NFL. He knows the leg of the journey Burrow is about to undertake and believes in the former LSU Tiger.
"He's a ball player," Bartkowski said. "He's going to go play. Whatever they're willing to pay him, they'll be willing to pay him because the first pick in the draft gets paid. Unfortunately, you're going to the team that's probably in the bottom quartile of the league."
Nonetheless, wherever Burrow goes, he knows he must first find his niche.
"I think the biggest thing for me going forward is finding the right niche in — finding a niche in whatever organization I go to, trying to be a great teammate and a great player, the best that I can," said Burrow. "Whatever they ask me to do, I'm going to do it."
If Burrow somehow goes to the Lions, who still have franchise quarterback Matt Stafford, and has to sit for a season or two, the 23-year-old is willing to do that.
Said Burrow: “Whatever organization I come into, if they want me to hold the clipboard for three years, I'll hold the clipboard for three years. I'm just going to try to be a great man and a great teammate."
The 6-4, 216-pound signal-caller has a winning mindset. As long as he controls what is within his realm, and his teammates, coaches, and front office control what is within theirs, Burrow should be able to turn any one of the teams with a top-5 pick into a competitor.
Do you think the Cowboys should trade up to No. 1 and rescue Joe Burrow from Cincinnati? Share your thoughts with Mark on Twitter @therealmarklane.