Perhaps the top quarterback prospect who could have been part of April’s draft, Herbert will instead stay with the Ducks and then be part of the 2020 class. This further depletes the quarterback talent pool in the 2019 draft. Herbert almost certainly would have been a top-10 pick. He rated sixth overall on Mel Kiper Jr.’s big board.
NFL teams in need of a quarterback have scouted Herbert this season, the Broncos and Giants among them. The Dolphins, too, were high on the junior Ducks passer. Instead, Herbert will be part of what is, as of now viewed as a stronger quarterback crop in 2020. Georgia’s Jake Fromm and Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa are eligible to enter that draft. Herbert’s decision could have key ramifications for teams this year.
The respective values of other passing prospects, such as Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins (who has yet to declare himself but is expected to do so after receiving a first-round grade) and Missouri’s Drew Lock, will be inflated because of Herbert’s choice. Although, Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller categorizes West Virginia’s Will Grier and Duke junior Daniel Jones — who also has not declared yet, though he’s expected to do so — as the top non-Haskins passers who could be available (Twitter link).
Prospective free agent passers Teddy Bridgewater and Tyrod Taylor may be more popular commodities in March as a result of this as well. Joe Flacco is now going to be available via trade; perhaps the Ravens’ price will rise. Herbert not being available will take a key option off the board for teams lacking a long-term answer.
Herbert’s decision coincides with younger brother Patrick Herbert’s Oregon signing. The class of 2019 tight end will join the Ducks next season. This year, Justin Herbert has thrown for 2,985 yards, 28 touchdowns and eight interceptions. While his completion percentage dropped to 59.6 percent, down from 67.5 percent in 2017, the 20-year-old quarterback intrigued teams in a way the other 2019 QBs have yet to.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.