How does Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert compare to the rest of the 2019 NFL Draft quarterback class right now?
Oregon Ducks quarterback Justin Herbert is a prospect many are excited about for the 2019 NFL Draft.
Herbert played in eight games in both his freshman and sophomore seasons with the Ducks. A broken collarbone suffered against Cal last year cost him time as the starter, but he returned to take Oregon to the Las Vegas Bowl.
He finished with over 1900 passing yards in each of his first two seasons, but he improved in his sophomore season, completing a higher percentage of his passes and finishing with a higher yards per attempt (9.6 in 2017 compared to 7.6 in 2016). His quarterback rating also improved significantly, jumping more than 18 points in his second year and 15 aditional points this year.
Herbert also looked more comfortable as a runner in his sophomore season, running for five touchdowns.
Weight: 225 lbs
Herbert possesses the first box that many scouts and analysts want to see: an NFL arm. He has the arm strength to make throws all over the field, and there are some special throws from his 2017 season on tape. Throwing on the run is another strength for Herbert, and he also has plenty of potential with his touch down the field.
Despite a lot of strengths with his arm, Herbert is also a very good athlete. He was recruited as a dual-threat quarterback, and he is a threat to run and can pick up good yardage when he needs to.
Another big box to check for quarterbacks is the ability for them to maneuver around the pocket well. When the pocket is clean for Herbert, he does a good job climbing the pocket and setting his feet to get his throws on target. He also is very patient in a clean pocket and waits for plays to develop.
One of the big weaknesses facing Herbert is his lack of experience taking snaps under center. Oregon’s offense employs mostly shotgun sets in a spread offense system. To show he can play at the next level, Herbert will need to prove to scouts he can take snaps under center and look smooth on his dropbacks.
While he has the arm strength and shows plenty of promise, it’s important for Herbert to work on his intermediate and deep accuracy. Too many times the ball is coming up short or floating too high over the heads of receivers.
The biggest issue for Herbert might be when he faces the blitz. Arizona State and Boise State both threw plenty of blitzes Herbert’s way, and it didn’t fare too well for him. Herbert sometimes appeared unaware of the pressure coming his way and took a few sacks where it looked like he thought he had more time to throw.
Herbert also doesn’t hold onto the ball enough when the play seems likely to fail. He threw a couple bad interceptions against the blitz, throwing off his back foot both times.
The NFL Draft is still a long way out, but it’s never too early to try to put a projection together for players. As far as Herbert goes, he will be considered one of the top quarterbacks in the 2019 class. He is a top 50 player at this point, but he needs to improve in the areas mentioned above if he is to receive a first round grade.
Herbert feels more like a second round projection at this point, but it’s likely he will go in the first round of the draft in April should he declare, and some consider him one of the top quarterbacks in the 2019 NFL Draft.