Joe Burrow Placed Behind 2nd-Year Star in AFC QB Power Rankings

Joe Burrow

Getty Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow.

Oh, how quickly they forget.

FanDuel placed Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow behind Houston Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud in its “way too early” power rankings of AFC quarterbacks in a post on X on April 4.

The ranking comes after a season in which Stroud was named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. Burrow didn’t play in the final seven games of the season after suffering a season-ending wrist injury that required surgery.

Three-time Super Bowl champion and two-time NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs took the No. 1 spot, followed by Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen, Stroud, Burrow and Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson to round out the top five.

Jackson is the reigning NFL MVP, winning the award for the second time in 2023.

C.J. Stroud Set NFL on Fire During Rookie Season

C.J. Stroud had one of the greatest rookie seasons in NFL history — regardless of position — after the Texans selected him out of Ohio State with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2023 NFL draft.

Burrow spent the first three seasons of his college career at Ohio State before transferring to LSU for his final two seasons. Burrow led the Tigers to an unbeaten season and the CFP national championship in 2019 on the way to winning the Heisman Trophy.

As a rookie, Stroud led a turnaround from 3-13-1 in 2022 to 10-7 and the AFC South division title and a playoff win in 2023. He threw for 4,108 yards, 23 touchdowns and 5 interceptions and became just the third quarterback in NFL history to lead the league in passing yards per game (273.9) and touchdown-to-interception ratio (4.6) following Joe Montana in 1989 and Tom Brady in 2007.

The Texans have added two offensive weapons to the roster in the offseason, trading for running back Joe Mixon and wide receiver Stefon Diggs.

“While the Texans were an incredible turnaround success story in 2023, there were pieces missing heading into the offseason,” wrote Sports Illustrated’s Ryan Phillips. “The Texans did all of that without a true top running back or an established No. 1 receiver. They’ve changed that over the past few weeks.

How Did Rookie Seasons Compare for Burrow & Stroud?

Burrow tore his ACL and MCL along with damage to his PCL and meniscus in Week 11 of his rookie year. Because of that, it’s probably better to compare his first full season to Stroud’s rookie year for argument’s sake.

Using those metrics, Burrow had more yards (4,611), more touchdowns (34) and more yards per game (288.1) than Stroud in 2021. Burrow was also sacked 70 times in 2021 — 51 times during the regular season and 19 times in four postseason games.

Burrow told ESPN’s Ben Baby he was on schedule to be cleared to throw in May. The Bengals finished 2023 with a 9-8 record and missed the playoffs for the first time since Burrow’s rookie year in 2020.

“When you’re injured, your only rebuttal to the narrative is what you put on the field and how you produce, and when you’re injured, there’s no dialogue between the narrative and yourself,” Burrow told ESPN on March 3. “So I’m excited to kind of handle that in my own way and get back out there in a much better place.”

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