Joe Burrow was a certain factor. A wholesome Tua Tagovailoa was a certain factor. Then there was Justin Herbert.
Herbert was taken sixth total within the 2020 NFL Draft by the Chargers out of Oregon, 5 picks after Burrow and three after Tagovailoa. That got here after Herbert put up enormous faculty stats as a thrower for the Geese, packaged in a 6-6 body. But someway, there wasn’t the identical confidence that Herbert would ship on his potential as the 2 QBs taken forward of him.
Quick ahead to October, and Herbert is beginning quicker than anybody anticipated. The Chargers had Tyrod Taylor able to maintain the seat heat till Herbert was prepared, however a an unintentionally punctured lung despatched Taylor to the sideline and Herbert into the fireplace in Week 2. Herbert’s thrown for 931 yards in three video games, second-most in NFL historical past for a rookie quarterback’s first three begins behind Cam Newton, to go together with 5 touchdowns.
L.A. is much from an ideal workforce, and the Chargers are Zero-Three in Herbert’s begins. However lower than midway via his first NFL season, Herbert already appears to be like to have proved the draft doubters fallacious.
MORE: What occurred to Tyrod Taylor?
What have been Justin Herbert’s destructive draft traits?
On the NFL Mix, Herbert was trustworthy — he admitted the apparent, that he had by no means performed within the NFL, and spoke about how that meant he cannot know for certain what the velocity of the sport can be like. ESPN’s Emmanuel Acho did not like that.
“Justin Herbert, he might doubtlessly be one of many greatest errors of the draft,” Acho mentioned, then continued, “These are usually not phrases you need to hear out of your future franchise quarterback. They could’ve been trustworthy, however the draft isn’t the time to be trustworthy. Mislead me.”
The Herbert management critcisms seem to stem from former Oregon head coach Willie Taggart, who spoke about wanting a quarterback who did greater than throw touchdowns. “Unnamed scouts” questioned about Herbert to Bleacher Report in 2018, suggesting he is “comfortable” and “immature” and “quirky.”
The critiques continued in 2019, when Desmond Howard in contrast Herbert to Joey Harrington. “That’s my concern with the quarterback on the market at Oregon, Justin Herbert,” Howard mentioned. “Unsure he can win the locker room like Burrow.”
In contrast to with statistics, it is laborious to nail down precisely the place scouts or Acho or Howard might actually nail down stable opinions on this matter. It is doubtless these at Oregon have been the one ones who might actually converse to the best way Herbert received over locker rooms, and even Taggart had modified his tune in a while.
On the sphere, the questions surrounding Herbert concerned his accuracy and what Sports activities Illustrated’s Albert Breer referred to as his “Jekyll-and-Hyde nature.”
Breer quoted one NFC govt saying, “The complete ability set’s there—tall, sensible, athletic, can throw, and throw on the run. He’ll miss a number of, and also you ask, ‘Why is that this taking place?’ And also you suppose possibly you clear it up, do one thing together with his footwork. However little question, he’s a top-five decide.”
Herbert’s completion proportion did take a tumble in his 2018 junior season, when accomplished 59.four % of passes and threw a career-worst eight interceptions. However he righted the ship as a senior, finishing 66.eight % of passes with 32 touchdowns and solely six interceptions.
What did Herbert’s critics ignore?
The power to make all of the throws on the sphere is not every part in a quarterback. However QBs who cannot make all of the throws are beginning behind the eight ball. Herbert could make all of the throws.
Do not take this paragraph as saying Herbert is the subsequent Patrick Mahomes, however they do have similarities. Mahomes performed in a university system that some NFL people weren’t satisfied translated to the professionals, similar to Herbert. Mahomes might make all of the throws (and throws others would not even think about), similar to Herbert. And similar to Mahomes, Herbert possess further athleticism that is not the very first thing you’d discover on a 6-6 passer with a rocket arm.
In Herbert’s closing faculty begin, a Rose Bowl win over Wisconsin, he did not have an amazing day throwing the ball. However he willed Oregon to the win with three highly effective speeding touchdowns. So possibly those self same folks criticizing Herbert’s management ought to’ve taken a take a look at one other cliche they like to spout, how Herbert was an actual “winner.”
This is not to say Herbert was an inherently higher prospect than Burrow or Tagovailoa. Being third place in a bunch with these two is not a foul spot to be. However the expectation that Herbert would take time to win over a professional locker room and be taught a professional system appears silly given how rapidly Herbert has already produced.
How is Herbert already taking the NFL by storm?
In Week four, Herbert threw a landing move to Tyron Johnson that traveled 62 yards within the air. That is the second-longest a completion has traveled within the air up to now two seasons, in response to the NFL’s Subsequent Gen Stats service. Speak about with the ability to make the throws.
Herbert hasn’t been shy in his first three begins. He is averaged 12.1 yards per completion, which ranks ninth within the NFL, sandwiched between MVP contenders Russell Wilson and Patrick Mahomes. Herbert’s predecessor in L.A., Tyrod Taylor, is a dink-and-dunk passer who embraces scrambling. Herbert has completely modified the model of the Chargers’ offense.
Surrounded by passing-game weapons like Keenan Allen, Hunter Henry and Mike Williams, Herbert is chucking the ball, many times. It is led to at least one interception in every of his first three begins, however the Chargers will take that unhealthy because of the overwhelming good that comes when Herbert lets the ball fly. Herbert’s cannon has additionally unlocked a few of the potential of the youthful receivers in L.A., Johnson and Jalen Guyton, who each have lengthy landing catches from Herbert.
When Herbert dueled Tom Brady in Week four, he jumped out to a 24-7 lead. He ended up throwing for 290 yards and three touchdowns. Positive, Brady got here again to win and present the rookie the way it’s performed. However Herbert did not flinch dealing with off with the G.O.A.T. Fairly quickly, Brady’s technology of quarterbacks shall be gone, and Herbert shall be contending for his spot close to the entrance of the subsequent technology.