Does Joe Burrow have something up his sleeve if the Bengals take him with the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft? Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals are believed to have already decided on taking Joe Burrow with the top overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft, and Burrow has said he will be happy to play for any team that wants to pay him. However, one comment he made this week may have the Bengals feeling at least slightly uneasy.

While Burrow technically can’t do anything about the Bengals drafting him, he did say this week that he has “leverage.” The implication seemed to be that if he doesn’t want to play in Cincinnati, there are steps he could take to assure he winds up elsewhere.

“I do have leverage,” Burrow said, via Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram . “They have their process and I have my process. We haven’t even gotten to the (NFL) combine yet. There’s a lot of things that happen leading up to the draft and a lot of information gathered.”

Burrow may be in a slightly uncomfortable spot. The Bengals have yet to say — at least publicly — that they are definitely picking Burrow, so the former LSU star doesn’t want to sound like he is guaranteed to be the top pick. However, he has been given opportunities to say how much he would love playing for a team in his home state of Ohio, but he only said this week that he is “focused on being the best football player I can be.”

For what it’s worth, at least one former No. 1 overall pick thinks Burrow should pull an Eli Manning and force his way to another team if the Bengals draft him. Former NFL quarterback Steve Bartkowski told the Star-Telegram that being drafted by the Atlanta Falcons first overall in 1975 ended up being detrimental to his health and career.

“I know what it’s like to go to a bottom-feeder team. I’d hate to see that happen to him to be honest,” Bartkowski said. “They beat me up. I spent more time at the hospital recuperating from injuries my first three years than I did throwing touchdowns. It was tough.”

Burrow being from Ohio is probably the biggest thing working in the Bengals’ favor. While the Heisman Trophy winner has not exactly expressed excitement over the possibility of playing in Cincy, there have been many reasons to believe he will not pull an Eli. It’s true that the Bengals have not been a successful franchise, but Burrow may be motivated to be the guy who turns things around for them.

This article first appeared on Larry Brown Sports and was syndicated with permission.


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Can you name every Heisman Trophy winner since 1959?
2019 / LSU / QB
Joe Burrow
2018 / Oklahoma / QB
Kyler Murray
2017 / Oklahoma / QB
Baker Mayfield
2016 / Louisville / QB
Lamar Jackson
2015 / Alabama / RB
Derrick Henry
2014 / Oregon / QB
Marcus Mariota
2013 / Florida St. / QB
Jameis Winston
2012 / Texas A&M / QB
Johnny Manziel
2011 / Baylor / QB
Robert Griffin III
2010 / Auburn / QB
Cam Newton
2009 / Alabama / RB
Mark Ingram
2008 / Oklahoma / QB
Sam Bradford
2007 / Florida / QB
Tim Tebow
2006 / Ohio State / QB
Troy Smith
2005 / USC / RB
Reggie Bush
2004 / USC / QB
Matt Leinart
2003 / Oklahoma / QB
Jason White
2002 / USC / QB
Carson Palmer
2001 / Nebraska / QB
Eric Crouch
2000 / Florida State / QB
Chris Weinke
1999 / Wisconsin / RB
Ron Dayne
1998 / Texas / RB
Ricky Williams
1997 / Michigan / CB
Charles Woodson
1996 / Florida / QB
Danny Wuerffel
1995 / Ohio State / RB
Eddie George
1994 / Colorado / RB
Rashaan Salaam
1993 / Florida State / QB
Charlie Ward
1992 / Miami / QB
Gino Torretta
1991 / Michigan / WR/KR
Desmond Howard
1990 / BYU / QB
Ty Detmer
1989 / Houston / QB
Andre Ware
1988 / Oklahoma St. / RB
Barry Sanders
1987 / Notre Dame / WR
Tim Brown
1986 / Miami / QB
Vinny Testaverde
1985 / Auburn / RB
Bo Jackson
1984 / Boston College / QB
Doug Flutie
1983 / Nebraska / RB
Mike Rozier
1982 / Georgia / RB
Herschel Walker
1981 / USC / RB
Marcus Allen
1980 / South Carolina / RB
George Rogers
1979 / USC / RB
Charles White
1978 / Oklahoma / RB
Billy Sims
1977 / Texas / RB
Earl Campbell
1976 / Pittsburgh / RB
Tony Dorsett
1975 / Ohio State / RB
Archie Griffin
1974 / Ohio State / RB
Archie Griffin
1973 / Penn State / RB
John Cappelletti
1972 / Nebraska / WR/RB
Johnny Rodgers
1971 / Auburn / QB
Pat Sullivan
1970 / Stanford / QB
Jim Plunkett
1969 / Oklahoma / RB
Steve Owens
1968 / USC / RB
O.J. Simpson
1967 / UCLA / QB
Gary Beban
1966 / Florida / QB
Steve Spurrier
1965 / USC / HB
Mike Garrett
1964 / Notre Dame / QB
John Huarte
1963 / Navy / QB
Roger Staubach
1962 / Oregon State / QB
Terry Baker
1961 / Syracuse / HB
Ernie Davis
1960 / Navy / HB
Joe Bellino
1959 / LSU / HB
Billy Cannon

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