Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2020 Prospect Primer: QB Justin Herbert

Following a strong Senior Bowl outing and the inevitable rise of quarterbacks in the draft, Oregon's Justin Herbert is looking at potentially being the third, if not second, quarterback off the board come April.

AP_20001822335911 (1)
Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert passes against Wisconsin during first half of the Rose Bowl NCAA college football game Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020, in Pasadena, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Name: Justin Herbert

Position: Quarterback

School: Oregon

Height: 6-6

Weight: 227

NFL Grade: 6.45 (Between 'Will be a starter in the first two seasons' and 'Boom or bust prospect')

Stats: Herbert finished the 2019 season completing 286 of 428 passes (66.8%) for 3,471 yards and 32 touchdowns against just six interceptions. He had perhaps his best game of the season on one of the biggest stages when Oregon took on USC in The Coliseum. Herbert completed 21 of 26 passing attempts for an 80% completion rate, throwing for 225 yards and three touchdowns. In his four-year Oregon career, he threw for 10,541 yards and 95 touchdowns in 44 games played, upping his passing totals year over year.

Herbert began collecting awards early at Oregon, earning First-Year Player of the Year award from his Duck teammates in 2016. He won Oregon's Offensive MVP award the next year and in 2018, was named honorable mention All-Pac-12 honors and Academic All-American notice. It culiminated in 2019 where he not only was an Academic All-American, but Academic All-American of the Year. He also earned another honorable All-Pac-12 mention and added a Rose Bowl victory to cap off his collegiate career against Wisconsin. Herbert scored three rushing touchdowns that game.

Comments: NFL.com's Lance Zierlein compares Herbert to Carson Wentz, for whatever NFL comps are worth. He's cautious to sign off on Herbert, though. Every pro has a caveat in the description he offers on his NFL draft profile. Herbert has a high ceiling and is the most physically gifted quarterback in the draft," says Zierlein. "But he doesn't have as many "wow" plays as expected for someone with his traits, experience and potential."

The big thing Zierlein stresses about Herbert is that he reads the full field, which is a pro-ready trait that will help Herbert tremendously at the NFL level. Getting through progressions is what Herbert is already used to. He said at the Senior Bowl that he dissects defenses by essentially looking at them through a scientific lens, which was his major at Oregon. He said he loves science because he likes to understand how things work, and that method of thinking carries over onto the field. You can see it in his tape.

Oh, and he can sling it, too. His arm strength was something that was on full display at the Senior Bowl, too. He looked the most comfortable of any quarterback in attendance, which included Oklahoma's Jalen Hurts and Utah State's Jordan Love. He aired a few deep balls to various receivers, that he notably didn't have any sort of rapport with prior to the week, which reflects favorably on his adaptability.

Judging from his Senior Bowl outing, he's also more mobile than he gets credit for. Zierlein picked up on that too, writing, "Has zone-read ability and can roll downhill once he's flushed from the pocket."

But he qualifies it later, concluding his list of weaknesses with Herbert's struggles with sudden pressure. However, if recent mock drafts are any indication, Herbert should be the third, and could even be the second quarterback off the board in the first round.

Related Content