2020 NFL Draft: Joe Burrow faces his toughest test yet

LSU quarterback Joe Burrow is off to a scorching start this season and his matchup against Florida will play a crucial part of his NFL Draft evaluation.

The 6-foot-4, 216-pound redshirt senior is one of the nation’s top quarterbacks and has put impressive numbers on the stat sheet. Burrow has already passed for 1,864 yards and 22 touchdowns through five games with just three interceptions.

Burrow has taken major steps since last year and looks the part of a future NFL quarterback.

He’s a pocket passer with above average arm strength and can put it on a rope in the short and intermediate passing games. His spiral isn’t always tight and it doesn’t always look beautiful leaving his hand, but Burrow is an accurate quarterback that has made some really impressive throws this season.

The argument could be made LSU’s abundance of talent at receiver, most notably Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase, cover up some of his flaws. Each have tremendous ball skills and can make plays even when ball placement isn’t ideal.

Texas was a tough test earlier in the season, but the Gator defense is loaded with future NFL talent and aren’t going to make things easy for him.

It’s going to be interesting to see how Burrow’s decision-making holds up against Florida’s potent pass rush. Jonathan Greenard is off to a hot start off the edge, and Jabari Zuniga, one of the most talented edge rushers in America, is slated to return after a four-game absence.

Both offer tremendous speed off the edge and have several ways to win on the outside. LSU is going to have to pick which they want to provide help on, but even if they do the Gators have the talent to push the interior of the pocket when they’re one-on-one.

Burrow has made good decisions and limited mistakes up to this point, but he did have a pick last week against Utah State where he was forced out of the pocket and missed his target high on the run, resulting in a third down interception deep in his own territory.

He’s flashed mobility this season and although he isn’t a consistent threat to run, Burrow offers the ability to tuck it when nothing is available downfield.

As if the Gators pass rush weren’t enough, Burrow is facing a talented secondary that’s highlighted by their cornerback duo of CJ Henderson and Marco Wilson. Both are talented players in coverage that have proven they can make signal-callers pay when they force it their way.

While Burrow has developed into a quality NFL Draft prospect, Saturday’s matchup is going to be a game evaluators circle back to later in the process. He’s going to be under pressure all game and a few untimely mistakes could swing the game out of LSU’s favor.

If he continues to step up and displays the same talent that he did in a big game against the Longhorns, it’s going to be hard to ignore Burrow as one of the top quarterbacks in this year’s draft class.

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