Name: Justin Herbert - Position: QB
Height: 6'6" - Weight: 238 lbs
School: Oregon - Age: 22
Pro ceiling: Josh Freeman
Analyst : Alex Katson - @alexkatson
Arm Strength – Dude can zip it. Naturally strong arm with a quick, whip-like throwing motion that generates even more velocity. Can sometimes result in sailing deep throws, but serves him well on out-breaking routes.
Mobility – Wouldn’t call him a true dual-threat, but will gain yards with his legs on occasion. Lots of read option plays at Oregon. Doesn’t lose much arm strength or accuracy when throwing on the run.
Accuracy – Short and intermediate passes rarely miss their general target. Arm strength allows him to fit some throws into tight windows. He could maybe lead his receiver a touch more in some circumstances, but it’s a small issue. Deep balls are usually on target, if not overthrown, which protects the ball, so again a minor issue.
Improv Ability – Is able to make throws from a variety of arm slots, which this iteration of the NFL will love. Has a couple plays a game that make you question if he lives by the same rules as a normal human being. Mobility helps a ton here.
Vision – While he looks safeties off very well, often will miss a linebacker roaming underneath. A lot of his missteps result from this issue, as those passes lead to deflections or interceptions.
Poise – Tale of two players in this regard. When rushers are blocked but the pocket is collapsing, he does well to climb the pocket and either scramble or make a throw. Against free rushers, though, it seems like he panics. Runs backwards more often than not, makes ill-advised attempts to throw it away, etc.
Footwork – Will sometimes turn his body the wrong way once he receives the ball. Part of it is that there are so many quick passes in the Oregon scheme, but he opens the hips during his drop as if he’s left-handed. Results in him taking an extra step or two on the drop that I’d like to see cleaned up. Puts a lot of weight on his back foot when throwing as well.
Progressions – Not generally asked to make a ton of reads in 2019. Lots of designed half-field plays; generally only moves to his secondary read under pressure. Noticed him staring down a receiver quite a bit over the course of 2019.
Games Watched: Auburn (2019), Cal (2019), Colorado (2019), Washington (2019), Utah (2019)
It’s difficult to separate Herbert’s play style from Oregon’s poor offensive scheme in 2019. There’s not a ton of mental work being done by Herbert on film in 2019, as he mostly operated in a one-read scheme with a ton of screens designed to get the Ducks’ speed in space. In addition, he almost never handled the ball from under center, which he’ll have to acclimate to in the NFL. When he was allowed to let it rip, though, Herbert displayed some undeniable traits. We all know about his arm strength at this point; he’s essentially a 6’6” human cannon. That same strength allows him to fit the ball into tight windows without much trouble, but does come at the cost of touch on some of his throws. Consistency will be key for the biology major: both his vision and poise come and go without warning. His footwork is easily fixable and perhaps was a conscious decision by him in the first place, but I would like to see him clean it up.
NFL teams are going to fall in love with the arm, we know that already. People have questioned his leadership style, commitment to football, etc., but after the rave reviews he received at the Senior Bowl and NFL Combine, those concerns have likely been squashed. I’ve never thought his NFL career hinged on those issues, though. I’m much more concerned with the panicking under pressure, lapses in decision making, and lack of improvement from 2018 to 2019. Herbert likely hasn’t reached his ceiling, but he may have hit a plateau. It’ll take the right coach and the right fit to ensure he isn’t stuck there.
Best Fits: Miami Dolphins, Cincinnati Bengals, Tampa Bay Buccaneers