As a former No. 1 overall pick himself, Eli Manning knows exactly what Bengals QB Joe Burrow is currently going through.
After an incredible 2019 season that saw a Heisman Trophy and national championship title come his way, Burrow was the presumptive first pick in the 2020 NFL Draft to Cincinnati the second the college season ended. The Bengals made that official on Draft Day, and with that selection, the Ohio native remained in his home state to lead a broken franchise back to the playoffs.
That, of course, is the burden Burrow holds as the first overall pick, and his play this upcoming season will have tons of eyes on it to see if he can hit the ground running in his NFL career. Manning knows all about that pressure of being the great hope for a franchise desperate to win again.
Manning, who just retired this past season following 16 years of leading the Giants, has actually gotten to know Burrow a bit due to his time at the Manning Passing Academy.
"I know Joe," he told Sirius XM NFL Radio's Bob Papa and Charlie Weis on Monday morning. "He's come down to our camp the last couple years and just a wonderful kid. Great guy, really enjoyed being around him."
So what can Manning provide in the advice department for Burrow in his first season? Well, Manning believes rookies, especially quarterbacks, need to earn the respect of the veterans around them before orders can be given out. That means putting in the hard work and letting that speak for you before your mouth does.
"The number one thing is -- it's tricky because you want to come in and you want to be a leader," Manning explained. "You want to kinda have that presence in the locker room, that presence in the huddle. And there's also the fact that you have to earn the respect of your teammates before you start barking at them."
Manning gave the example of Daniel Jones last season. Jones was the sixth overall pick by the Giants, and Manning knew he was brought in to take over for him at some point. It happened just two weeks into the season, and from there, he realized his reign as the Giants' starting quarterback was officially done.
But Jones didn't take over and start barking orders. He worked hard on and off the field, gaining the respect of his offensive linemen and working on the chemistry with his receivers. He was also taking guidance from a man with exemplary work ethic and attention to detail when it came to quarterbacking the game.
Burrow, though, won't necessarily have that with the Bengals. Andy Dalton, who was long their veteran option, is now Dak Prescott's backup in Dallas. So Burrow will be expected to jump into that leadership role off the rip, while Jones had the opportunity to ease himself into it.
It's not going to be perfect. It certainly won't be as easy as it looked for Burrow and the LSU Tigers last season. And that's why Manning believes Burrow just needs to simply put his head down and work on gaining the trust of his teammates and coaches this season to prove that first overall selection was absolutely the right call to make.
"You gotta go in, have your head down, don't say a whole lot, work your tail off on all aspects of everything," Manning said.