Was Herbert a bad pick for the Chargers?
Updated: Aug 24, 2020
Although I like Justin Herbert as a prospect, I really don’t like the Chargers taking him or where they took him. I’m aware that quarterbacks are by far the most valuable position on the field so drafting one and developing him makes sense. However, when you draft a quarterback in the 1st round you are expecting them to play almost right away and if you pick the wrong quarterback the front office will likely lose their jobs and the franchise will be set back 4 to 5 years. In my opinion the fall out of this move will lead to Taylor losing the starting job around week 6, Herbert will be made starter and lead the Chargers to a losing record meaning a good coach in Anthony Lynn will lose his job at the end of this season. They will then see their ageing defense begin to regress in the following years, Herbert won’t be able to push them over the top and the Chargers will be back on the quarterback carousel in 4 years. The Chargers are a quarterback away from being a playoff team, in free agency they brought in ageing players on short contracts implying that they are in win now mode and drafting a quarterback does not fit in with those moves. Had the Chargers instead of taking Herbert at 6th overall taken linebacker Isaiah Simmons and then signed Cam Newton in free agency I believe they would be in a great position to challenge the Chiefs for the AFC West and make a play-off run.
Herbert had a good college career, spending all 4 years with Oregon. Finishing his career there with a 29-14 record along with 95 touchdowns to 22 interceptions. To his credit his first 3 years at Oregon he was coached by 3 different head coaches and navigated 3 different offensive schemes. In 2020 he led his team to a Rose Bowl victory in which he was named MVP. However, despite Herbert’s success he was playing in the Pac-12 which is considerably less competitive than the SEC where Burrow and Tua resided.
I completely understand the desire behind Herbert and his measurables. He is only 22 but has accrued 4 years of experience under his belt at Oregon. At 6ft 6 he is the perfect size and build for your traditional quarterback and he has a cannon of arm. Of all the quarterbacks entering the NFL in the 2020 draft I believe Herbert will be the most NFL ready given his extended experience in college, but his ceiling is not on the same level as Burrow, Tua or even Jordan Love. Had they drafted Love at 6th and let him sit behind a quarterback like Cam Newton I would understand it more. It just feels to me that they were pushed into a corner and selected him as they needed a quarterback. I predict that he will become a good starter similar to a Derrick Carr or Jimmy Garroppolo, who granted I believe you can win a Super Bowl with but are not elite and neither were drafted in the first round let alone at 6th overall.