Justin Herbert figures to be one of the top quarterbacks off the board in the NFL Draft. But will the Oregon product play as a rookie, or would he benefit from sitting a year and becoming a team’s starter in 2021?
“I always say my litmus test for whether or not these guys can play right away, really, it’s about toughness,” Daniel Jeremiah said on The DA Show. “Are you mentally tough enough to handle the pitfalls that are going to come inevitably? And are you physically tough enough? You’re going to take a pounding there. Usually these young quarterbacks that are picked high [don’t] have great offensive lines. So can you maintain your confidence? Can you maintain your health? And you add in the intelligence that he possesses, I think he’ll be able to digest the playbook in quick order. So you can get him on the field early.
“My question with him is, I I think when you compare him with somebody like Jordan Love, Jordan Love has a higher ceiling,” Jeremiah continued. “He’s the one that’s not ready to play right now. He needs to be developed a little bit more. But he has more of that playmaker gene to him, play off script and make things happen. It’s not always how it’s drawn up on the play card; you got to be able to adjust and react and make plays. That’s where Jordan Love has an advantage over somebody like Herbert, but he’s not going to be ready to play right away.”
Jeremiah ranks Love, who starred at Utah State, as the 18th-best player in the draft.
“I have him as a top-20 talent in this draft, and I would not be surprised if he ended up going in the early teens,” Jeremiah said. “When you look at the draft order, there’s two quarterback rows. You look at 5, 6 and 7, that’s the first run of quarterbacks you’re going to see with the Dolphins, the Chargers and the Panthers, and then you get down to that next wave where you start talking about the Raiders at 12, the Colts at 13, the Bucs at 14. I wouldn’t be surprised if Jordan Love ended up slotting into one of those spots [between 12 and 14].”
Love was incredible in 2018. He completed 64.0 percent of his passes for 3,567 yards, 32 touchdowns and six interceptions.
“I think if you go back and watch Jordan Love in 2018, he had a better cast around him, he had a better system around him that he was comfortable in, and he played really well,” Jeremiah said. “You go look at 2019 tape, and the numbers are not good.”
In 2019, Love completed 61.9 percent of his passes for 3,402 yards, 20 touchdowns and 17 interceptions.
“The turnovers are way up,” Jeremiah said. “Well, the kid lost nine starters on offense. He lost his offensive coordinator, his head coach, so there was not a lot around him and he started to try to play hero ball trying to make things happen that weren’t there and forced some footballs and turned the ball over. But in terms of arm talent, athletic ability, playmaking ability, you see all that in the 2018 version of Jordan Love. If you draft him, you’re hoping that’s the one you’re getting.”