Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert is an intriguing NFL draft prospect. The Ducks quarterback had an opportunity to potentially be a first-round pick in the 2019 NFL draft but opted to return to Oregon for his senior season.
There has been talk that Herbert regressed this season at Oregon, but Herbert’s numbers are better in nearly every major statistical category. Herbert threw for 3,333 yards, 32 touchdowns and five interceptions while completing more than 66 percent of his passes. His completion percentage is up by more than seven percent while throwing three less picks than a season ago.
ESPN’s Todd McShay has been an advocate for Herbert’s pro potential and has the Oregon quarterback as a top 10 quarterback going to the Chargers.
Philip Rivers is a 38-year-old pending free agent, so the Chargers absolutely have to think quarterback this year. As mentioned, Herbert still has some consistency issues, but he has great, 6-foot-6 size, good mobility and a really live arm. Tyrod Taylor has another year on his contract, and he served as a bridge to Baker Mayfield for Cleveland in the past; Taylor could do it again in L.A. with Herbert.
Justin Herbert’s NFL Draft Projections
Not everyone is as bullish on Herbert’s pro readiness citing consistency and footwork as two areas that could use improvement. The Athletic’s Dane Brugler has Herbert ranked as his No. 4 quarterback for the upcoming draft, but also had him as a top-10 pick in his latest mock.
Herbert is a perplexing prospect around the league. Some believe he will be a top-10 pick while others wouldn’t touch him in the first round. How Herbert does throughout the process in his meetings with NFL evaluators will be crucial.
Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller believes Herbert could go as early as No. 5 to the Dolphins, even if it is not what he would do as an NFL GM.
Mock drafts aren’t what I would do, and that’s important to note because this is definitely not who I would tab to be the next quarterback of the Miami Dolphins…
Justin Herbert will wow someone with his traits, of which there are many. He’s tall, athletic and has a big right arm. But he’s raw with footwork that will drive you crazy and passes that can sail wildly when he’s not mechanically sound. Head coach Brian Flores and GM Chris Grier could see Herbert’s potential and believe they can develop it after losing what would have been a seamless fit in Tua Tagovailoa to injury.
Tua Tagovailoa’s Health Could Impact the Oregon Quarterback’s Draft Stock
Most draft analysts still have Tua Tagovailoa being selected as the second quarterback off the board after Joe Burrow. The challenge is Tagovailoa is recovering from a dislocated hip injury, and it remains to be seen how NFL teams will view his draft stock.
If teams opt to pass on the Alabama quarterback, Herbert would likely be one of the biggest benefactors. Pro Football Focus’ Michael Renner has Herbert going No. 13 to the Colts in his mock draft.
Herbert’s likely going to be an acquired taste for some come draft time. You have to bet on his high end that saw him have five games with passing grades over 80.0 this past season instead of his low end that earned game grades below 60.0.