The Los Angeles Chargers got their quarterback of the future in Oregon’s Justin Herbert in the first round of the draft. But will Herbert start from the get-go or will it be veteran Tyrod Taylor in Week 1? Here are Herbert’s odds at Mybookie to win 2020 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year as well as the Chargers’ over/under win total.
The Chargers found their heir to Philip Rivers when they selected Herbert with the sixth pick of April’s draft out of Oregon. Herbert opted to stay at Oregon for all four seasons despite receiving top-five buzz ahead of the 2019 NFL Draft. Herbert grew up 10 minutes from Autzen Stadium and has been a Ducks fan since he was a child. His grandfather, Rich Schwab, played receiver at Oregon in the 1960s.
In 2016, Herbert became the first true freshman at Oregon to start at quarterback since 1983. He made seven starts overall and finished third in the Pac-12 with a passer rating of 148.75. He accounted for 21 touchdowns (19 passing, 2 rushing). Herbert was one of four FBS quarterbacks with at least 15 TD passes and less than five interceptions. He completed 63.5 percent (135-of-259) of his passes for 1,936 yards. He set equaled the program single-game records for total yards (512), passing yards (489) and touchdown passes (6).
Herbert started eight games in 2017 but missed five due to injury. He led the team to a 6-2 record thanks to 49.1 points and 516.5 total yards per game as the starter. Herbert had 1,983 passing yards and in the process became the fastest player in program history to reach 3,000 career passing yards (13 games). He accounted for 20 touchdowns (15 passing, 5 rushing) and finished with a passer rating of 167.52, which would have ranked No. 4 nationally if he met the minimum games played.
As a junior, Herbert tied for 13th in the FBS with 29 TD passes and 27th in passing yards (3,151). He became the fifth player in program history with 3,000 yards passing in a single-season and the fastest player in program history to reach 4,000 (17 games) and 5,000 (21 games) career passing yards.
Herbert might have been the top overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft but did return to school for his senior season. He ranked 19th nationally with 3,471 passing yards and fourth nationally with a 66.8 completion percentage (286-of-428) among QBs with 400 or more pass attempts. Herbert had 19 TD passes and no interceptions in the red zone, good for a tie for seventh nationally.
He joined Marcus Mariota (2015) and Danny O’Neil (1994) as the only quarterbacks in program history to be named the Rose Bowl Game MVP or Offensive MVP. Herbert led Oregon to a 29-13 record over 42 career starts, including a 27-8 mark over final three seasons. Oregon averaged 37.2 points per game over his 42 career starts. He had a TD pass in 40 of 42 career starts, including a streak of 35 consecutive games. Herbert finished second in Oregon history in TD passes (95) and passing yards (10,541), good for sixth and 14th, respectively, in Pac-12 history. He’s the school’s all-time leader in pass completions (827) and pass attempts (1,293).
He ended his collegiate career with a lopsided 95 touchdowns to 23 picks (and 8.2 YPA) largely because of his elite arm strength. Herbert’s traits are best-suited for a vertical or play-action offense. His overall accuracy (64% career completion rate) and hands (26 fumbles in 43 starts) are genuine concerns. A gifted athlete with 4.68 speed, Herbert has the ability to scramble for first downs when the pocket collapses and can handle designed runs.
Herbert is one of the biggest quarterbacks in this year’s rookie class, at 6-foot-6, 236 pounds and has drawn comparisons to Ryan Tannehill and Carson Wentz. He’ll enter his first training camp behind veteran Tyrod Taylor, but it will be a surprise if he’s not under center before midseason.
NBC Sports’ Chris Simms is a big Herbert fan. “He’s an incredible talent,” Simms said. “I think his ceiling could be higher than Joe Burrow, who was the No. 1 pick in the draft. Now can he play the position the way Joe Burrow does yet? No. He cannot. But he’s got big-time ability.”