With the 2020 NFL Draft roughly three weeks away, there is much discussion as to who is the second-best quarterback after projected top overall pick, Joe Burrow. A case could be made for former Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa, but what about Oregon Ducks QB, Justin Herbert?
Herbert, a 6’6, 236-pound senior quarterback, was a four-year starter up in Eugene, and thanks to his size, mobility and arm strength, he has drawn comparisons to Philadelphia Eagles quarterback, Carson Wentz. Hopefully, for the sake of NFL scouts and talent evaluators, he doesn’t also have his penchant for injury.
While many have already penciled in Burrow to the Cincinnati Bengals at No.1 overall? Who is next? Who is the next quarterback to be taken after him?
Is it Herbert or Tua? While one—Tagovailoa—has a proven track record of big wins and a national title under his belt down in Tuscaloosa, many scouts and NFL insiders are down on Tua due to his extensive injury history, which includes a season-ending hip injury vs. Mississippi State.
In the case of Herbert, while he may look the part, can you trust him as a franchise quarterback, as he showed a propensity of being inconsistent and looking more mechanical instead of natural. Despite some of these pre-draft concerns and criticisms, Herbert threw for 3,471 yards, 32 touchdowns and only six interceptions.
During his four years at Oregon, Herbert passed for 10,541 yards, 95 touchdowns and 23 interceptions, which stats-wise is certainly comparable to Burrow’s lone year as a starter down at LSU and Tagovailoa’s two seasons at Alabama. But while stats and analytics are part of the evaluation of QB’s, Herbert’s four years as a starter compared to Burrow and Tagovailoa’s combined three should carry some weight into where he ends up.
Teams desperate for a franchise quarterback such as the Miami Dolphins at No.5, Los Angeles Chargers at No.6, Carolina Panthers at No.7 and the Jacksonville Jaguars at No.9 are likely landing spots for Herbert in the first round. If he were to somewhat unlikely slide out of the first round then Las Vegas Raiders at No.12 or No.19, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at No.14, the Denver Broncos at No.15, Miami (again) at No.18 and very unlikely chances of Herbert slides even further then he could be on the radar of the New England Patriots at No.23 and the New Orleans Saints at No.24.
While the latter wont happen for Herbert, just ask Aaron Rodgers and Brady Quinn about being projected as a top-ten quarterback who slid unexpectedly. The NFL Draft is a very unpredictable and chaotic event where players either rise or fall quickly and for no reason. While all indications are that Herbert is a lock for the first round, nothing is ever certain in April.