2019 NFL Draft: Justin Herbert inches closer to the #1 pick

Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images
Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images /

More and more it’s looking like there is only one QB who is even remotely close to having a shot at being the #1 pick in the 2019 NFL draft.

That’s Justin Herbert of Oregon. Everybody else of note in the class has exhibited way too many issues of late to feel comfortable with something like that. Herbert meanwhile has had a good start to the season, putting up strong numbers. However, experts have held off on praising him too much. Big numbers are great and all, but they want to see how he’s able to perform in tough conditions. Can he elevate his game to deliver a big win?

Herbert did just that against a tough 7th ranked Washington team. The conditions were inhospitable at times. The Huskies made life tough for him as he barely completed over half his passes on the day, but he managed to avoid huge mistakes. Whenever his team needed a drive, he would deliver. Oregon fell behind 10-3 and 17-10 in the first half. Each time Herbert answered with touchdown passes to tie the game.

Then in the 3rd quarter, he engineered a brilliant 15-play scoring march to take the lead 24-17. Though Washington tied the game to force overtime, Herbert delivered a gigantic 17-yard pass on 3rd and 11 to put the team in position for the winning touchdown run by C.J. Verdell. It was a masterful big-game performance.

Justin Herbert in full control of his NFL destiny with home stretch to come

There’s no question now that Herbert has the full attention of NFL teams going down the final stretch of this college season. He has everything going his way. He’s arguably the most talented quarterback in the 2019 class. He comes from a proven program and he has played well on the stat sheet and in the big games. As long as he doesn’t do anything to ruin this momentum the rest of the year, it could be an interesting scramble to see who gets that #1 pick.

Herbert might very well be the only quarterback that can be remotely considered a strong bet for future success in the pros. Everyone else has major question marks at this point. He’s got size, a strong arm, accuracy, shows poise under pressure and has a clean background. That checks every box teams usually set for a quarterback who goes in the top 5. Finishing the season strong is going to decide his financial future in a big way.