There's likely going to be plenty of drama when the first round of the NFL Draft kicks off on Thursday night, but don't look for any of that drama to happen with the first overall pick, because it appears the Bengals have already turned in their draft card (unofficially).
According to Fox 19 in Cincinnati, the team has informed Joe Burrow that he'll be the No. 1 overall pick. Not only did the Bengals let him know a day early, but the team also sent three Bengals jerseys to Burrow on Wednesday with one going to him and the other two going to his parents, according to ESPN.com.
The NFL loves when there's a mystery at the top of the draft, but this year, it definitely makes sense that the Bengals told Burrow early, and that's mainly due to the fact that the draft could turn into total chaos since it's being conducted in a virtual setting for the first time in NFL history.
With the draft going fully virtual, not only is there a threat, but there's also the possibility of major glitches, one of which happened to the Bengals on Monday when the league to get all 32 teams ready for the actual draft. By letting Burrow know now that he's being draft, the Bengals can basically just sit back and watch the rest of the first round like the rest of us on Thursday.
Of course, the fact that the Bengals are going to take Burrow isn't a surprise to anyone. Unlike the last two years, when the Cardinals and Browns tried to keep a lid on who they were going to take No. 1 overall pick -- with Kyler Murray (to Arizona) and Baker Mayfield (to Cleveland) -- there was no mystery surrounding this pick for the Bengals. It's been pretty much assumed by everyone since February that Cincinnati would be selecting Burrow and the team hasn't done much to try and hide that fact.
During an interview with ESPN this week, Bengals coach Zac Taylor said the team has been extremely "impressed" with Burrow.
"We feel very comfortable with him as a prospect," Taylor said. "We talked to a lot of guys, but certainly formed a really good relationship with Joe, and been really impressed with everything we've seen from him."
With the NFL allowing up to three video conferences per week with a prospect, the Bengals have spent a lot of time talking to Burrow over the past few weeks and he seems to be growing on Taylor.
"He's as advertised," Taylor said. "All the things we heard about him, we saw from our first meeting with him and as we've gotten to know him over the last couple weeks."
The Bengals de facto general manager, Duke Tobin, has also been pretty open about how highly the team thinks of Burrow.
"What we believe and what we know is that he's got real leadership qualities," Tobin said of Burrow last week, via the Cincinnati Enquirer. "He's got real football intellect. I think the game is extremely important to him. He loves the challenge of the preparation, which is a mark of a lot of good players. You've really got to love the grind in preparing for a game and there is a grind. You have to really thrive off of that. Those traits come across when you visit with Joe."
As for Burrow, it doesn't sound like he's going to be surprised when he hears his name called on Thursday. The presumptive top pick told Pro Football Talk that he's expecting to be taken by the Bengals.
"I have been watching the draft enough years that I know crazy things have happened and I have watched people on camera slip and then the camera stays in their face and all that stuff so I am keeping everything on the table," Burrow said. "I expect to be number one, but you know I am not positive about it."
The oddsmakers in Las Vegas also see Burrow going off the board first. At this point, it's basically viewed as a lock as Sportsbooks have made Burrow a -100,000 favorite to be taken with the top pick, which means you'd have to bet $100,000 just to win $100.
In our latest round of mock drafts here at CBSSports.com, all seven of our writers have Burrow going to the Bengals with the top pick, and although there's no mystery there, you can check out their other 31 picks for the first round by clicking here.