The 23-year-old quarterback recently reached out to a former No. 1 selection for input on transitioning to the league. Peyton Manning warned Burrow that his football situation is about to become very different.
"He called me about some of the things that I tried to do as a rookie that maybe he can apply to his NFL career," the impending Hall of Fame QB said Sunday on ESPN's SportsCenter. "Looks like it's going to be for the Cincinnati Bengals. What I told him, 'Look Joe, if you're the first pick in the NFL draft, you are going to a team that has earned the first pick in the NFL draft. There are going to be some holes there. There's a reason the Colts were picking No. 1 that year. There's a reason the Bengals are picking No. 1 this year.'"
The Bengals went 2-14 last season, missing the postseason for the fourth consecutive year. They haven't won a playoff game since 1990. Burrow won a pair only three months ago while leading a dominant LSU team to a 15-0 season. The Bayou Bengals have never been better. The Bengals of Southwest Ohio, meanwhile, just tied a franchise record for fewest wins in a season after being outscored by 141 points.
Even with Burrow, Cincinnati figures to have too many holes to turn things around overnight. Manning reminded him how hard his first pro season was back in 1998, when he set an NFL record with 28 interceptions and lost more games than he had in four years combined at the University of Tennessee.
"Jim Mora never took me out," Manning said. "I learned some things in the fourth quarter of those blowouts about what it took to be an NFL quarterback and the next year we went from 3-13 to 13-3. That wouldn't have happened if I hadn't have hung in there and learned the ropes as a rookie, even though we took some bumps and bruises.
"So that's what I tried to encourage Joe and all the other rookie quarterbacks, that your rookie year is not going to be the same as your senior year in college. But if you learn how fast the defensive backs are, how soon you have to get rid of the ball, understand defenses, you can become a better player and really get it going the year or two after that."