NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced Burrow as the first player selected Thursday in the unprecedented virtual event. He was one of five LSU players and a record 15 Southeastern Conference players picked in the first round.
Burrow was flanked by his parents in the living room of his Athens County, Ohio, home when he got the call from Cincinnati. Bengals coach Zac Taylor said he expects the Heisman Trophy winner to compete to be the team's starter.
"That's exactly how I expect to do it as well," Burrow told reporters. "I'm going to come in and compete and try to be the best player I can be."
Burrow has been touted as a hometown star for the Bengals. Fans hope he can carry his championship pedigree to Cincinnati, a franchise that has never won a Super Bowl. The Bengals haven't won a playoff game since 1991.
Dalton entered the league as a second-round pick by the Bengals in the 2011 NFL Draft. The TCU product won 50 games in his first five seasons as the Bengals' starter.
Dalton was 2-11 as a starter last season in Cincinnati. He also was benched before he returned to start at the end of the season. Dalton is 20-35-1 as a starter in his last four seasons.
The three-time Pro Bowl selection has one year remaining on his contract with the AFC North franchise.
Burrow said during the predraft process that he never has had a losing season as an athlete since he was 5 years old. He dealt with adversity early on in college as a backup at Ohio State before he transferred to LSU. Burrow ascended up draft boards in 2020 after he threw a college football record 60 touchdowns as a senior.
"I mean for me, it doesn't matter where you get picked," Burrow said. "I could have been 189th pick, I could be No. 1. I'm going to work the exact same and try to be the best quarterback I can be for this city."
Burrow faces more of a challenge than previous rookie quarterbacks when preparing for an NFL season. The coronavirus pandemic has closed team facilities throughout the NFL, and coaches and players are prohibited from holding team workouts and in-person meetings.
Burrow most likely will have to rely on video conferences and other forms of technology early on as he learns the playbook and meets new teammates.
"I've always been really good at bringing everybody together to [work toward] a common goal," Burrow said. "I think my work ethic kind of permeates through the team. I'm excited to get around all the guys and everybody within that building."