Tom Harmon

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Joe Burrow follows Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray for Heisman Trophy first in NFL draft

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Former LSU quarterback Joe Burrow has helped to make some NFL draft history. By being named the No. 1 overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday night, Burrow was the third consecutive Heisman Trophy winner to go No. 1 overall in the following draft. This is the first time in draft and Heisman Trophy history that the No. 1 overall draft pick won the Heisman Trophy the previous season.

Burrow was chosen with the top overall pick one year after 2018 Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray of Oklahoma was selected with the top pick in the 2019 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals. The previous year, in 2018, Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma was selected with the first overall pick by the Cleveland Browns. Mayfield took home the Heisman Trophy in 2017.

Burrow is the 23rd Heisman Trophy player to go No. 1 overall in the NFL draft. Another LSU icon, Billy Cannon, pulled off the accomplishment in 1960 after winning the Heisman Trophy in 1959. The only other schools to have multiple Heisman Trophy winners that were chosen first overall in the draft are Oklahoma (4), Notre Dame (3), USC (2), and Auburn (2).

Heisman Trophy Winners Drafted No. 1 Overall in NFL Draft

  • 1935 – Jay Berwanger – Chicago (Philadelphia Eagles)
  • 1940 – Tom Harmon – Michigan (Chicago Bears)
  • 1942 – Frank Sinkwich – Georgia (Detroit Lions)
  • 1943 – Angelo Bertelli – Notre Dame (Boston Yanks)
  • 1949 – Leon Hart – Notre Dame (Detroit Lions)
  • 1956 – Paul Hornung – Notre Dame (Green Bay Packers)
  • 1959 – Billy Cannon – LSU (Los Angeles Rams)
  • 1961 – Ernie Davis – Syracuse (Washington Redskins)
  • 1962 – Terry Baker – Oregon State (Los Angeles Rams)
  • 1969 – O.J. Simpson – USC (Buffalo Bills)
  • 1970 – Jim Plunkett – Stanford (New England Patriots)
  • 1977 – Earl Campbell – Texas (Houston Oilers)
  • 1978 – Billy Sims – Oklahoma (Detroit Lions)
  • 1980 – George Rogers – South Carolina (New Orleans Saints)
  • 1985 – Bo Jackson – Auburn (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
  • 1986 – Vinnie Testaverde – Miami (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
  • 2002 – Carson Palmer – USC (Cincinnati Bengals)
  • 2008Sam Bradford – Oklahoma (St. Louis Rams)
  • 2010Cam Newton – Auburn (Carolina Panthers)
  • 2013Jameis Winston – Florida State (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
  • 2017 – Baker Mayfield – Oklahoma (Cleveland Browns)
  • 2018 – Kyler Murray — Oklahoma (Arizona Cardinals)
  • 2019 – Joe Burrow, LSU (Cincinnati Bengals)

Murray and Mayfield completed a pretty rare feat as the top picks of the draft in back-to-back years. The 2018 and 2019 drafts marked the first time the top overall picks in consecutive seasons had come out of the same school since 1968 and 1969. USC’s Ron Yary and O.J. Simpson went No.1  overall in those years, respectively.

So, the pressure is on for whoever ends up winning the 2020 Heisman Trophy. The bar has certainly been raised.