Pac-12 Analyst: Herbert Will Be Off NFL Draft Board Early

In leading Oregon to a Pac-12 Championship, Justin Herbert solidified his status as one of the top quarterback prospects in the country

December 12, 2019 - 10:04 am
Justin Herbert Oregon

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When Justin Herbert elected to return to Oregon for his senior season, he did so to lead the Ducks to the College Football Playoff and a national championship. While he fell short of those goals, he did lead No. 6 Oregon to an 11-2 record and a Pac-12 championship.

He also solidified his status as one of the top quarterback prospects in the country.

“I think he made one of the more difficult decisions anyone has to make when you’re in his shoes, and that is to go back to campus and play for your senior year when you know you could be one of the first quarterbacks taken off the board,” Pac-12 Network analyst Mike Yam said on Ferrall on the Bench. “I think the interesting thing about it is he has thrived this season.”

Herbert completed 66.7 percent of his passes for 3,333 yards, 32 touchdowns and five interceptions this season.

“I think questions about could he win a big game for you, could he lead your football team – that was something people were knocking him (for),” Yam said. “I always felt like he had the makeup to go and do it. . . . To me, what he’s been able to do this season, I point to the win against Washington State. The road win in Seattle when his team needed him to make some critical throws late in that ballgame, he executed.”

Indeed, Herbert led Oregon to a 35-31 win at Washington and a 37-35 win against Washington State in back-to-back weeks. The Ducks also clobbered then-No. 5 Utah, 37-15, in the Pac-12 Championship, as Herbert threw for 193 yards and a touchdown.

“I think his legacy as one of the greats that’s worn that Oregon uniform is continuing to be cemented thanks to that win on Friday night,” Yam said. 

Herbert will play his final game against No. 8 Wisconsin (10-3) in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1. After that, the NFL awaits.

And make no mistake: Herbert will be one of the first picks off the board.

“Just massive hands, big build, looks the part – he looks like an NFL quarterback,” Yam said. “He looked like an NFL quarterback a season ago. Some of the throws that he makes are just so damn impressive. I think what you saw from him Friday is the ability to take off and run a little bit. He’s been able to execute the offense that he’s been told to execute, and he doesn’t really make a ton of mistakes. To me, he’s no doubt a Sunday quarterback and a guy we’re going to be talking about off the board fairly early in the NFL Draft.”