Justin Herbert Scouting Report By Charlie Campbell
Tremendous skill set
Can make all the throws
Can fire fastballs into tight windows
Deadly as a pocket passer when given time
Pocket presence; doesn't panic when first read is covered
Willing to push the ball downfield
Throws a good deep ball
Stands tall and steps into hits
Ability to work through progressions
Hits receivers on the run
Throws receivers open
Leads receivers for more yardage after the catch
Able to loft in touch passes
Throws a very catchable ball
Ability to extend plays
Can hurt defenses on the ground
Speed takes defenses by surprise
Can throw off platform
Good fit for any pro offense
Has had success against good competition
Not a commanding leader
Struggled in some big games
Played down to competition at times
Some feel had a sheltered upbringing
Lacks a killer instinct
Summary: Justin Herbert has been closely followed by the scouting community for a number of years. As a freshman, he was impressive immediately, completing 64 percent of his passes for 1,936 yards with 19 touchdowns and four interceptions for 2016. His sophomore year started out well before e suffered a broken collar bone on his left shoulder - non-throwing. That caused him to miss five games, but Herbert returned to play in the final three games. In 2017, he completed 67 percent of his passes for 1,750 yards with 13 touchdowns and three interceptions. The sophomore also ran for five touchdowns.
In 2018, Herbert completed 59.4 percent of his passes for 3,151 yards with 29 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He had a fast start to the season, but had some rough games in the back half of the year. That led to him returning for his senior year. In 2019, Herbert completed 67 percent of his passes for 3,471 yards with 32 touchdowns and six interceptions. He scored four rushing touchdowns too, but Oregon didn't run run him as much. After his senior year, Herbert had a solid week of practice at the Senior Bowl, where he showed off his great skill set, plus team sources say he interviewed well in Mobile.
Herbert displays good size and a strong arm with the ability to make all the throws. He can fire passes into tight coverage and push the ball downfield with the strength of his arm. On top of power, Herbert shows a nice ability to loft in touch passes and throw receivers open. He can drop in passes with nice ball placement that leads his receivers and beats quality coverage with the location of his passes. Given his height and size, Herbert can comfortably stand tall in the pocket and demonstrate the patience to let routes develop.
Along with his arm talent, Herbert is a quality athlete who has the ability to pick up yards on the ground. In the NFL, he won't be a true running quarterback like Michael Vick, Cam Newton, or Deshaun Watson, but Herbert has the feet and agility to dodge pass-rushers and extend plays while also being able to pick up yards. Herbert runs faster than the defense expects and is faster than most quarterbacks. There are a few first downs per game that mobile quarterbacks are able to pick up, and Herbert will bring that ability to his pro team.
Herbert shows advanced field vision to work through progressions and find the right receiver. With his size and pocket presence, Herbert stands tall in the pocket, showing patience and not panicking if his first read is covered. On top of his field vision, Herbert makes good decisions and displays intelligence. If his offensive live gives him time, Herbert can absolutely pick apart a defense with his arm talent and also is able to use legs to create big plays when nothing is open. Physically, Herbert has a prototype skill set and ability.
The only negatives, weaknesses and concerns that NFL teams have about Herbert are related to his makeup. Team sources say Herbert is a good kid off the field, but he is quiet and they question his ability to be a vocal leader. Some teams don't care about a quarterback having that attribute, but others really want that. There are some who also question Herbert's ability to lead his team to tough wins against good opponents and if he has a killer instinct to push his team to wins, like a Tom Brady or a Russell Wilson. Some of the sources who question that think Herbert could be a bottom-16 starting quarterback in the NFL. Some also question Herbert adjusting to life in the NFL after having lived in the same small town his entire life. Other team evaluators dismiss all of those concerns and point to some Pac-12 games in which Herbert led Oregon to victories and feel that he will be fine adjusting to NFL city life.
Regardless of those concerns, Herbert looks like a lock to be a top-16 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft and most likely will go as top-10 selection to be some team's franchise quarterback. If Herbert can adjust to life in the NFL and mature, he has the potential to be a good NFL starter if provided with a quality supporting cast.
Player Comparison: Carson Wentz. It wasn't easy to find a comparison for Herbert because he is a unique player with a rare skill set. Herbert has some similarities to Wentz, and team sources noted Herbert is bigger and stronger than Wentz, but they are pretty close in terms of their skill sets.