2019 NFL Draft: Who’s left at QB with Justin Herbert returning?

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

Oregon Ducks quarterback Justin Herbert is officially returning for 2019. What does this mean for the 2019 NFL Draft class at quarterback?

For NFL teams needing a quarterback in 2019 and wanting to get started on the development process, Oregon Ducks quarterback Justin Herbert is not going to be available for the 2019 NFL Draft.

Herbert has every requisite tool to be a successful quarterback at college and in the professional ranks, but I’m not completely sold on him just yet.

He checked in as the fifth-ranked quarterback in my top five quarterback rankings for the 2019 NFL Draft. Why?

First and foremost, Herbert’s health is a question mark. He played all 12 regular season games for Oregon this year but is dealing with a shoulder contusion going into their bowl game against Michigan State. In the two seasons prior to 2018, Herbert had missed significant time with injuries.

It’s cliché, but availability is important and Herbert has been unavailable to the Ducks more frequent than my liking.

Herbert has also shown some inability to process or see the field as well as other top quarterback prospects I’ve scouted in recent years. The number one overall pick hype with Herbert was a bit overblown at this point in my opinion because of those two main factors.

Still, we’re nit-picking because obviously Herbert is an outstanding player with great skills, but when it comes to evaluating for the NFL, you have to be critical of every area of a player’s game.

Herbert also completed a career-low 59.6 percent of his passes this year. A couple of dropped passes could have put that number over the 60 percent threshold of comfortability, but it’s worth noting that in the first complete regular season he’s played, his completion percentage dipped below 60.

Overall, Herbert looks like a starting caliber quarterback in the NFL, but I’m not sure he’s on the same level or even close to what I would have graded Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold a year ago. He’s more on par with the Josh Rosen’s of the world.

Even though Herbert may not be a number one overall pick, he’s still worthy of a first-round selection meaning his absence from the 2019 NFL Draft leaves a void at the position for teams needing quarterbacks.

The ‘best of the rest’ include Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray, West Virginia’s Will Grier, Missouri’s Drew Lock, and Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins.

At this point, only two of those four are going to be available (Grier, Lock) because they are seniors. Neither Murray nor Haskins has officially declared their intent to enter the 2019 NFL Draft, but it’s safe to assume both would be top 40 selections.

Haskins, at this point, would have the inside track to becoming the number one quarterback off the board. He’s shown incredible tools throughout the year and had a huge breakout season.

Declaring now would likely create a bidding war for the chance to pick him.

dark. Next. Top 5 QBs for the 2019 NFL Draft

Herbert now joins a 2020 class that potentially also includes Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa and Georgia’s Jake Fromm, among others. The 2019 class is not as good as that class at the top, but certainly there are intriguing players coming out in this class, headlined by Haskins.