By Steve Lee
With 300 some odd days between now and the 2020 NFL Draft, there are a lot of things that could happen before the draftees take to the stage in Las Vegas. No sooner had Kyler Murray heard his name being called, armchair quarterbacks had started to talk about the next wave of players to potentially declare their names for the 2020 class.
Stock will rise and fall during the college season and dark horse diamond in the rough late round picks will be born during the combine. Meanwhile teams (and fans) will be willing to bet the future of their franchise on a young soon to be star.
It is almost a guaranteed bet that Tua Tagovailoa will be selected first overall next summer, most likely by the Miami Dolphins. Though, their acquisition of Josh Rosen could throw a monkey wrench into that plan, which may then find them adding Jerry Jeudy to their roster instead. Regardless of whether or not Tagovailoa ends taking his talents to South Beach, most early draft boards have Alabama’s junior being the first quarterback selected. The question is, who is number two?
After deciding to return to college for his senior season, a move that surprised many, Oregon’s Justin Herbert is most likely the second best option for teams looking to add a field general to their lineup. One of the reasons why Herbert is most likely to slip to the second QB selected is based on his team’s success.
Even though the 6’6”, 225lber has the size and athletic ability to be the best in his draft class, the fact that Alabama and Tagovailoa appeared in back to back NCAA Championship Games and the Hawaiian was named the Offensive MVP in his freshman season leans in favor of third year quarterback.
Unfortunately, some NFL GM’s and coaches might not see past the winning and ignore the fact that the Crimson Tide is a better team than the Ducks, despite Oregon being a pre-season top ten ranked team that is returning seventeen starters from last season. However, by potentially being the second QB selected, the pressure is off Herbert to come in and have immediate success with whichever team drafts him.
There are a number of experts who compare Herbert to Philadelphia Eagles fourth year star quarterback Carson Wentz, who was the second thrower drafted from the 2016 crop of rookies. Others feel there are a lot of similarities between the skill set of Herbert and Tennessee Titans QB Marcus Mariota, just with a bigger frame.
Whether Herbert is in the pocket or on the run, he has the ability to make game changing decisions on the fly, something that will excite the fan base of whichever team is fortunate enough to draft him. While he may have been draft ready last season, the additional year in college has made him be into America’s line NFL, ready sooner than later.
Had the Ducks quarterback entered into the 2019 draft, odds are that he still may have been the second QB selected – since the Arizona Cardinals newest star was the heavy favorite to hear his name being called first by Roger Goodell. Would Herbert have been a better selection for the New York Giants than Daniel Jones?
That’s a tough question to answer, but the pressures of playing in the Big Apple and eventually replacing Eli Manning may be too much to place on a small-town kid from Eugene, Oregon. Although it is far to early to determine who will be drafting where next year, analytics and the fact that they just aren’t very good leans towards the Bengals, Lions and Redskins all potentially searching for a new offensive leader.
As one of three quarterbacks predicted to be selected within the top ten, Herbert and the Ducks, who are the NCAA football odds on favorite in the Pac12 rankings, are gambling on a successful season.