The Cincinnati Bengals have already begun doing their homework on Joe Burrow — and they like what they see.
Offensive coordinator Brian Callahan told the team website he admires the Heisman Trophy winner’s pocket feel while quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt added, “He definitely checks off a lot of boxes early in the evaluation process.”
“He's got natural pocket feel. He feels it," Callahan said. "It seems like he never takes his eyes off down the field. He extends the play really, really well. He's a lot faster than you might assume when you see him running away from all those SEC guys. He's got incredible up-field accuracy. The ball hardly ever hits the ground in a game, which is rare. He just naturally puts the ball in places where those guys can make plays.”
Van Pelt: "Creates on the move. Obviously takes care of the ball. Makes good decisions. You can see that with his touchdown-to-interception ratio (60-6). I got to see him (in real time on TV) in the last two games of the year and then when you watch the tape, you're seeing the same things.”
Burrow, a Southeast Ohio native who spent three years at Ohio State before transferring to LSU, is invited to the Senior Bowl, but it is unclear if he will be there only a week after finishing a 15-0 senior season with a win in the College Football Playoff Championship game over Clemson.
The Bengals have the No. 1 pick in the draft, and they are widely expected to select Burrow as part of a franchise reset under second-year head coach Zac Taylor.
Taylor, Callahan and Van Pelt are all former quarterbacks, and they will have plenty of signal-callers to evaluate as coaches for the South team in Mobile even if Burrow skips the Senior Bowl.
They’ve been assigned Oregon’s Justin Herbert, Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts and Colorado’s Steven Montez white the North squad coached by the Detroit Lions staff will include Michigan’s Shea Patterson, Washington State’s Anthony Gordon and Utah State’s Jordan Love.
Players for the South team will get a preview of the Bengals playbook, a West Coast offense that Callahan said bears some similarities to what Burrow ran at LSU.
“We've got a lot of similarities with their pass game. A lot of NFL offenses do," Callahan said. "He ran a lot of elements of what they did in New Orleans. Getting guys in space. Getting people in matchups. You see a lot of pro passing concepts in their offense and they did a really good job. But there are things like that you see around the league. It's all things that fit very well with what we do and a lot of people do.”
Players report Monday with practices slated to begin Tuesday.
The game will be held Jan. 25 and telecast by the NFL Network.
Dayton tight end Adam Trautman is also set to be there as part of the North squad while four Ohio State players (Malik Harrison, Jonah Jackson, KJ Hill and DaVon Hamilton) have also accepted invites.
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