2020 NFL Draft: Oregon QB Justin Herbert Player Profile and Analysis
Herbert resided in Eugene, Oregon, prior to committing to Oregon and was destined to be a Duck. A three-star recruit coming out of Sheldon High School, Herbert was the 659th ranked prospect according to 247 sports in the 2016 class with offers or interest from the likes of Montana State, Portland State, Eastern Washington and only one other known FBS offer (Washington). Herbert was considered a pro-style QB coming out of High School but eventually proved to be more of a dual-threat player who can create on the move. Herbert posted a 4.68 forty at the 2020 combine and participated in the throwing drills adding one more data point for scouts to evaluate. The Justin Herbert, or Tua Tagovailoa debate? Herbert, or Tua? The question has been and continues to be discussed by mainstream analysts. Herbert is a prototypical style QB with good athletic ability. By comparison, he and Jordan Love are somewhat similar in terms of skill, and in my opinion, the question should be Herbert or Love after Burrow and Tua. But some analysts differ and believe Herbert is the safer pick when compared to the two battered ankles and the hip of Tua Tagovailoa. Per SB Nation Alabama has had countless skill position players get drafted high, including receivers, running backs, and tight ends. This year, both Jerry Jeudyand Henry Ruggs III are projected to be first-round picks. Tagovailoa also had the pleasure of playing behind one of the top offensive line units over the last three seasons. He often threw to open receivers who could take short gains for long touchdowns. How Justin Herbert's game can translate at the next level? At 6-6 236 lbs, Herbert is not a statue. Herbert has a similar skillset to Trevor Lawrence in terms of his ability to create with his legs. He has a strong arm and ranked 17th in the nation averaging 9 air yds per attempt in 2019, but needs to improve his touch on short, to medium area throws. He protects the football ranking 14th in the nation, throwing an INT on only 1.4% of his throws in 2019. Herbert has the pedigree. His grandfather played at Oregon in the '60s, and his brother was a 4 star TE who is on his way to play at Oregon. Justin Herbert Strengths Stature is NFL ready Protects the football Can sell a play-action with the best of them Uses his eyes to hold the deep safety A strong arm that can beat coverage and fit the ball into small windows Justin Herbert Weaknesses Does not make the splashy play Lacks touch on short and medium area throws Plays cautious Needs to add more air on deep throws and fade routes Timing needs work, less caution and hesitation Herbert had a good 2019 season Herbert had a good 2019 season compiling a 32/6 TD/INT ratio. Against top 25 competition, Herbert was pedestrian as a passer in two of the three contests. His performance on the road in the season opener vs. Auburn, where he compiled 242 yards on 28/37 att (76%) and throwing for one score, highlighted what Herbert could become at the next level. His YOY completion percentage improved by 7% and was a welcomed improvement for those who believe or do not believe in Herbert's ability at the next level. Herbert vs top 25 opponents In 2019, Herbert faced some high-level competition while playing in the Pac 12. In 2019 he faced three top 25 opponents whose defenses ranked 12th, 12th, 47th against the pass. The two 12's are Wisconsin and Utah, and Herbert struggled, combining for 331 yds and 1 TD to 1 INT. The other top 25 team he faced (Auburn) had the 47th ranked pass defense. Herbert had one of his best games against Auburn on the road in 2019, posting 242 yds on 37 attempts (75.7%), 1 TD to 0 INT. vs top 25 opponents in 2019: QBR: 131.00 (50th), yds per Att. 6.9 (38th) vs non-top 25 opponents in 2019: QBR 163.03 (18th), yds per att. 8.4 (34th) Conclusion Herbert has a real opportunity to go early in the draft with some predicting he may go before Tua to Miami. Others believe he goes behind Tua to San Diego. Herbert has the tools to be an NFL QB and will need to work on his cautious nature, which leads to his hesitation in the pocket. He has the physical tools and might need a season or two behind a veteran before being thrown to the wolves.