Former Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert was long considered a first-round prospect during the 2020 NFL Draft cycle, so it came as no surprise when the Los Angeles Chargers selected him with the sixth overall pick.
Herbert will likely begin his rookie season as the backup to Tyrod Taylor, but don’t expect that to last long. Taylor is a solid veteran quarterback and a strong playmaker in his own right, but the Chargers aren’t a Super Bowl contender with Taylor behind center. It would make no sense to waste time getting Herbert on the field.
What kind of quarterback can Chargers fans expect to get from Herbert? According to NFL Network’s Bucky Brooks, he’ll resemble another west coast passer.
“I think this is the perfect marriage because I think they will create an offense that has a lot of play-action passes, some movement-based passes that put him on the move,” Brooks said on the Move the Sticks Podcast. “He was kind of underutilized in that aspect at Oregon. I think he can be what we call a ‘highly-efficient game manager.’ I don’t know if he’ll be the takeover type, meaning like a Pat Mahomes type. But I do believe he can do like the guy that played against Pat Mahomes — Jimmy Garroppolo. High level of efficiency in terms of getting the ball to the playmakers and being able to win a ton of games. Justin Herbert, to me, has that type of ceiling. He’s not what I would call a five-star player, but I certainly think he’s a four-star player that can get them to the winner circle.”
Garoppolo was the target of unfair criticism in 2019 despite throwing for nearly 4,000 yards and 27 touchdowns. The 49ers became the NFC’s darlings and enjoyed elite play from their defense, but it was Garoppolo who didn’t inspire as a Super Bowl-worthy quarterback. Still, he certainly deserves to be ranked in the top-half of starters across the league.
Herbert has a higher upside than Garoppolo, in my opinion, but he also has a lower floor. His arm talent is superior to Jimmy G’s, but is his decision-making? Does he have the leadership traits that Garoppolo possesses? Those are questions that Herbert can only answer once the bullets fly on Sundays.