All signs point to the Cincinnati Bengals drafting LSU quarterback Joe Burrow with the No. 1 overall pick on April 23, with Tyler Dragon of the Cincinnati Enquirer reporting that he's been on top of the team's 2020 prospect board since before the 2019 regular season ended.
The apparent interest became even clearer Monday after Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported that team owner Mike Brown sat in on the team's interview of Burrow at the NFL Scouting Combine, making himself available to answer any questions the 2019 Heisman Trophy winner had about the organization:
The Burrow-Bengals connection has existed since December, when it became clear the Bengals would hold the draft's No. 1 pick and that Burrow would be the draft class' top signal-caller.
However, concerns that Burrow may dictate his future landing spot a la John Elway or Eli Manning came to light after a Feb. 18 interview with Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
"I do have leverage," Burrow said. "They have their process and I have my process. We haven't even gotten to the (NFL Scouting) Combine yet. There's a lot of things that happen leading up to the draft and a lot of information gathered.
"Right now, I'm focused on being the best football player I can be. I'm in this unique spot. You can go watch my film. I don't have to prove myself at pro day and at the combine, so I'm in a unique spot where I can focus on getting ready for the year."
But Burrow shot down the idea of him refusing to go to Cincinnati at the combine.
"I'm not going to not play. I'm a ballplayer. I'm going to show up," Burrow said at his combine interview with assembled media.
Furthermore, a February 26 report from Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com offered these comments on Burrow's combine meeting with Cincinnati.
"During the 18-minute interview session, Burrow, looking more and more like he could be the Bengals' next franchise quarterback, reportedly had an engaged give-and-take with everybody from Bengals president Mike Brown, head coach Zac Taylor, director of player personnel Duke Tobin and offensive coordinator Brian Callahan. One club official not among that group said it was the best interview he had ever attended."
This year's draft is scheduled to take place from April 23 to 25.