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Justin Herbert cements top-10 NFL Draft status with stellar Senior Bowl week

Lions, NFL Draft
Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

Former Oregon Ducks quarterback Justin Herbert did everything he needed to do this past week to impress NFL scouts and front office personnel at the Senior Bowl ahead of the draft.

The skinny: Herbert followed up a rock-solid week of practice, during which praise was lofted his way by most of the nation’s top reporters, with an MVP performance during the Senior Bowl on Saturday.

On Saturday, Herbert completed 9-of-12 passes for 83 yards and a touchdown. In the process, the NFL prospect secured his status as a top-10 selection once the 2020 NFL Draft rolls around in late April.

The resume: During his tenure at Oregon, Herbert had his ups and downs but still finished his career with very impressive stats and some big wins.

  • Herbert was a four-year starter for the Ducks, going 29-14.
  • Herbert showed growth and improvement throughout his tenure at Oregon.
  • He finished his career with a respectable 63.9% completion rate, along with 10,541 yards with 95 touchdowns and just 22 interceptions passing.
  • Herbert also has dual-threat abilities and rushed for 560 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Saving the best for last, Herbert also had an outstanding final game at Oregon leading the Ducks to a Rose Bowl victory over Wisconsin, earning MVP honors while tallying three rushing scores in a gritty performance.

The tools: When you create a quarterback on “Madden” he has the physical traits Herbert possesses. This young man has size (6-foot-6), speed, athleticism, and the arm strength to make tight-window throws at the next level (like this).

These traits were on display throughout the week in Mobile, Ala.

You can just imagine how the hype will build as he works out at the combine and pro day.

The need: As always, there are not enough elite quarterbacks, and the gap between the haves and have-nots is vast. Here are the teams that could be looking for a quarterback early in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft.

  • Cincinnati Bengals (No. 1 overall): They’ve been talking up Joe Burrow already, and the latest mock drafts have the Bengals selecting the LSU product.
  • Detroit Lions (No. 3 overall): We recently wrote that the Lions need to trade Matthew Stafford and start from scratch. Now, there are rumors floating around that suggest that might actually happen.
  • Miami Dolphins (No. 5 overall): The Dolphins are desperate to find their quarterback of the future. Reportedly, they are infatuated with Tua Tagovailoa.
  • Los Angeles Chargers (No. 6 overall): The Chargers appear to be moving on from the Philip Rivers era, and there’s a strong possibility they could take Herbert or another quarterback here at No. 6 overall.
  • Carolina Panthers (No. 7 overall): Cam Newton is still on the roster but all the latest reports indicate he will be traded come March. If that’s the case, then the Panthers will have an obvious need here.
  • Jacksonville Jaguars (No. 9 overall): This is a bit more of a stretch, as nobody really knows whether Jacksonville sees Gardner Minshew as franchise quarterback material. But if the answer is no, the Jags could be looking hard at this year’s rookie class.

There are six teams in the top-10 of the 2020 NFL Draft who could realistically take a quarterback. Clearly, it’s a buyer’s market, and that’s good news for quarterbacks.

The bottom line: Justin Herbert isn’t the most polished or pro-ready quarterback in the 2020 NFL Draft. But he’s clearly gifted with an extremely high upside.

There’s going to be a run at the quarterback position atop this year’s draft, despite so much talent at other positions. Herbert will benefit by being one of the top players selected, and his top-10 status is all but assured.