2020 NFL Draft QB Stock Watch: Joe Burrow's standout performance vs. Texas has gotten NFL's attention
Burrow was lights-out against the Longhorns but how did Tua, Herbert and Fromm fare this week?
Two weeks ago,Feleipe Franks. Last week, Jalen Hurts. This week it's LSU's Joe Burrow, who went to Austin and dominated the Longhorns in the most impressive showing of the young season.
In this week's QB Stock Watch, we also cover the usual suspects, Heisman Trophy favorites and No. 1-overall-pick candidates Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert, and check in on Jake Fromm and Shea Patterson, two quarterbacks whose seasons appear to be going in different directions.
Note that we didn't touch on Hurts, whose Oklahoma team dominated South Dakota; Jordan Love and Utah State, who steamrolled Stony Brook; or Jacob Eason, the Washington quarterback who lost to Cal after an interminable weather delay that made it difficult to discern much from his performance. That said, Hurts, Love and Eason remain firmly on our radar and we'll be revisiting their progress in the coming weeks.
OK, let's get to it.
Joe Burrow, LSU
It's Joe Burrow, everybody! LSU's senior quarterback went off against Texas on Saturday and in the process catapulted his name into the draft conversation. There were reasons to like Burrow coming into Week 2 of the college season -- he was 23 of 27 for 278 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions against overmatched Georgia Southern in the opener -- but he got everyone's attention with his performance against the Longhorns.
When it was over, Burrow was 31 of 39 for 471 yards, four touchdowns and one interception as LSU outlasted Texas on the road, 45-38. There was so much to like about Burrow's effort, from the the poise in the pocket, the confident throws under pressure, not to mention coming up huge in the game's biggest moment. On third-and-17 with 2:38 to go and the Tigers clinging to a 37-31 lead, Burrow took the snap, surveyed the field, calmly stepped up as the pocket gave way around round and delivered a strike to Justin Jefferson that not only moved the sticks, but widened LSU's lead.
Has Burrow worked his way into the first-round conversation? Not yet, but he's officially on everyone's radar now some 18 months after transferring from Ohio State because Dwayne Haskins had the inside track at the starting job. Meanwhile, on Saturday Burrow became just the fourth LSU quarterback to throw for at least 400 yards, and it was the first time in school history the Tigers had three 100-yard receivers in a game.
Shea Patterson, Michigan
If Burrow's arrow is up, Patterson's is down. He followed up an middling debut against Middle Tennessee with ... another middling effort against Army. He was 19 of 29 for 207 yards, and while he didn't throw an interception, he lost two fumbles, didn't have a touchdown, took four sacks and had minus-18 rushing yards on eight carries. The issues that plagued Patterson coming into the season remain -- namely, the lack of consistency from one throw to the next, which prompted us to tweet this on Saturday afternoon as Michigan was holding on for dear life in overtime against Army:
What's so maddening is that Patterson shows glimpses of his potential, and we saw that on a fantastic throw to Ronnie Bell on third-and-6 in the first overtime that kept the drive going:
Of course, in the second overtime, Patterson overthrew an open Nico Collins in the end zone and followed that up with an inexplicably inaccurate throw on third-and-10 that forced the Wolverines to settle for a field goal. For now, we stand by our Trace McSorely comparison.
Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
The Crimson Tide overpowered the New Mexico State Aggies, 62-10, and Tagovailoa was a spectator just one series into the third quarter. The Heisman hopeful needed just 30 minutes to throw for 227 yards and three touchdowns -- and he added another 33 yards and a score on two carries. It all started on Tagovailoa's first throw of the game, a backwards pass to Henry Ruggs III who promptly took care of the rest.
There wasn't much to glean from this game other than to reinforce what we already knew: Alabama is a force, Tua is a legit candidate to be the first player taken in the 2020 NFL Draft, and an early season punching bag ain't changing that.
Justin Herbert, Oregon
Like Tagovailoa, Herbert's evening was over in the third quarter, and like Tagovailoa, Herbert was facing a lesser opponent. Oregon cruised to a 77-6 win over Nevada and in the process, the senior quarterback reestablished himself (for a week, anyway) as a legit NFL prospect.
We've been saying it for a year, Herbert looks the part; he's 6-foot-6, insanely athletic and can throw the ball a mile. But it didn't come together for him last season -- he completed just 59 percent of his throws -- and he was wise to return to school.
And after a solid effort last week against Auburn, Herbert lit up the scoreboard against a Wolf Pack outfit that was helpless to do much about it. He was 19 of 26 for 310 yards and five touchdowns, though the accuracy issues that plagued him as a junior popped up on Saturday night.
Herbert's talent is undeniable. The question NFL teams will have to answer is if Herbert can play with more consistency at the next level.
Jake Fromm, Georgia
Fromm was a tidy 15 of 23 for 156 yards and a touchdown in the opener against Vanderbilt in a game where he faced little pressure. He had an even easier afternoon against Murray State, where he was 10 of 11 for 166 yards and a touchdown before heading to the bench before halftime. As we've come to expect, Fromm was efficient from the pocket, often making the right reads and delivering short and intermediate passes accurately and on time. Questions about his deep-ball accuracy remain, even when the opponent is incapable of providing much in the way of competition.
This may seem like nitpicking -- Fromm completed the pass to George Pickens for 43 yards -- but if the ball hits Pickens in stride it's an easy touchdown:
Of course, two plays later Fromm hooked up with Pickens in the back of the end zone for a touchdown, but our point remains: If Fromm is going to be a first-round pick, he'll need to prove to evaluators that he can consistently complete passes downfield because there aren't any Murray States in the NFL.
Pick Six Newsletter
Get the day's big stories + fun stuff you love like mock drafts, picks and power rankings.
Thanks for signing up!
Keep an eye on your inbox for the latest sports news.
There was an error processing your subscription.
Join our Free $1,000,000 Parlay Challenge
The depth of this wide receiver class on full display in this mock draft
Herbert showcased his awesome throw-on-the-run ability against Nevada, but two notable misses...
Tagovailoa wasn't nearly as sharp in the win over New Mexico State as he was in the season...
Another week, another mock draft where four quarterbacks go in the first round
The Oklahoma wideout dazzled against South Dakota, and Ruggs reminded everyone he's a blur...
The LSU signal caller put himself on the draft radar with a 471-yard performance in Austin