The Oregon Ducks revealed a bit of surprising news just days before the team played in the Redbox Bowl on Monday, December 31. As quarterback Justin Herbert revealed in a statement released by the school, he has opted to return for his senior season. The talented quarterback was expected to be one of the top players taken in the 2019 NFL Draft.
With Herbert set to play his senior season in 2019, it means a few different things. The first of which is that the Ducks become one of the more dangerous teams in college football. But along with that, it should push Herbert’s high draft ranking back one year, in turn, making him a top 2020 NFL Draft prospect.
After throwing for 2,985 yards with 28 touchdowns and eight interceptions, Herbert looked to be one of the most pro-ready quarterbacks. He was ranked high by virtually all draft analysts, and we’re going to take a look at how he stacks up in next year’s draft as well as diving deeper into the decision.
Justin Herbert’s Surprising Decision
Not only did ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. have Herbert listed as the top quarterback for the 2019 draft, but also the No. 6 overall player. Todd McShay also had Herbert rated highly, as the Oregon quarterback came in at No. 20 in the latest rankings.
Although the decision is questionable in the eyes of many, as there’s an obvious chance he could wind up hurting his stock, there’s some additional appeal for Herbert. His brother, Patrick Herbert, who’s a tight end, will be joining the Ducks next season. This means the family members could team up on the field and potentially help the team build on their 8-4 record from this season.
With Herbert set to return, the good news is that his 2020 draft outlook remains positive, so he should still be a solid prospect next year.
Justin Herbert’s 2020 Draft Stock & Projections
When the news was made public, there was a shifting of draft boards to be done, and Herbert was moved to the 2020 class by analysts. Fortunately, the Oregon signal-caller remains high virtually across the board, and Walter Football currently has him as the top overall quarterback in the class. They also have him projected as a clear-cut first-round pick.
To make things even more interesting Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports revealed that a scout stated they would take Herbert over Alabama star Tua Tagovailoa if the 2020 draft were today.
“If I was on the clock right now, I’d go with Herbert,” the scout said. “He’s taller and fits the prototype more. I really like his arm strength and ability to stay in the pocket. Tua has three or four first-round picks on offense with him, and Herbert has Dillon Mitchell. That’s pretty much it. Tua has a lot to work with. He’s got first- and second-rounders galore around him that makes his job easier.”
One scout wasn’t the only person who echoed this sentiment either, as The Draft Network’s Benjamin Solak stated Herbert is the “clubhouse leader for 2020 QB1.” While he admitted things could obviously change, the Oregon signal-caller is still the favorite to earn that spot.