For the strong-armed quarterback he is, Herbert has been a better decision-maker than many who have been in the same position with similar skill sets. Dangerous throws can be a quarterback’s best friend and biggest foe when they possess the necessary arm talent, but Herbert has not fallen into the trap of looking for the big play snap after snap.
Herbert is a dream quarterback for an offensive coordinator who designs his offense around production between 10-30 yards downfield. Much of the Oregon offense involved stretching the field either laterally or vertically on a play to play basis, and this offense fit Herbert’s talents extremely well. Herbert has never had issues with taking what is given by a defense, and consistent yardage on quick throws to the boundaries showed off his strong decision making and willingness to fit into the system given to him.
Complimenting these intermediate and deep throws, Herbert’s vision beyond hook-zone defenders is extraordinary, able to identify holes in zone coverage behind defenders and place a perfectly dropped ball into the hands of his receivers. This kind of vision creates new areas of the field that safeties need to now bite on, and this only creates more opportunity for levels concepts on deep posts and bench concepts.
Downfield, Herbert has shown a strong ability to progress from read to read on advanced levels and flood concepts, which are extremely popular among NFL coaching staffs and is a strong sign for future success in the NFL. Many young quarterbacks get stuck on a single read, but not Herbert.
When escaping the pocket, Herbert does have a tendency to roll out to the boundaries instead of climbing up in the pocket. This pocket awareness will develop with time and reps but will hamper possible rookie production. This flaw was abused by Auburn and Stanford, combing for seven of his eight sacks so far in Oregon’s four major games.
Once Herbert is outside the pocket though, he is confident and calm. He is able to scan the field and find open men, as well as conscious of his footing. Many quarterbacks do not set their feet outside of the pocket regardless of pressure, but not Herbert. A solid base makes the throw for a quarterback, and Herbert ensures this with a solid base whenever there is time away from the pass rush.
Overall, Herbert is a very intelligent player during the play but has not had to be as aware pre-snap in Oregon’s offense. His development on pre-snap reads and checks at the line of scrimmage will make up a large part of his NFL development, and will strongly depend on a competent coaching staff to show him how to execute.