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Justin Herbert NFL draft profile and fantasy projection

Many will be enamored with Justin Herbert’s arm, but will he be able to make the jump to the NFL?

Justin Herbert #10 of the Oregon Ducks warms up prior to Rose Bowl game presented by Northwestern Mutual against the Wisconsin Badgers at Rose Bowl on January 01, 2020 in Pasadena, California. Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images

At 6’6”, 236 pounds, Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert is a presence on the field as he launches passes with a powerful arm. In 2019 he completed 286-of-428 passes for a 66.8 percent completion rate, 3,471 yards, 32 touchdowns, six interceptions. In 2019, Herbert was named the Academic All-American of the Year and led his team to a Rose Bowl victory over Wisconsin, rushing for three touchdowns.

Scouting Report

Herbert has all the physical tools to be an NFL quarterback. His arm strength pops and he is a strong runner and accurate thrower when forced from the pocket. His improved play from 2018 to 2019 is a good sign that he can continue to develop in the NFL, where he’ll need to work on going through his progressions while keeping his feet settled under pressure.

He’s confident attacking downfield, but touch throws evade him and may have created tentativeness with certain short and intermediate throws. Ball placement requires additional emphasis, but upgrading to NFL skill talent could help him bloom. Herbert has a high ceiling and is the most physically gifted quarterback in the draft, but he doesn’t have as many “wow” plays as expected for someone with his traits, experience and potential. — Lance Zierlein

Many in the scouting community worry about his pocket presence and some didn’t like that he said he might not be ready to start his rookie season. He’s a laid back guy who doesn’t lead as vocally as some would like. That’s for the psychologists to figure out though. If Herbert can run an NFL offense well, he’ll be fine. Of course, plenty of big arm draft prospects who had trouble with pressure and going through their reads, who couldn’t cut it in the NFL.

Mock Draft Results

Mel Kiper, ESPN: Chargers
Daniel Jeremiah, Patriots
Eric Edholm, Yahoo Sports: Dolphins
Doug Farrar, Touchdown Wire: Not in first round mock

Fantasy impact: Rookie year

Herbert’s landing spot in the NFL seems up for grabs, with the Chargers the team to whom he is most often mocked. A team with a strong line is needed if he is going to perform well in his rookie season and even then, he’s likely to have trouble with NFL pressure. But, an upgrade at receiver would help and that would happen with the Chargers, while the offensive line is still questionable. He won’t be a preferred pick in redraft leagues this year.

Fantasy impact: Career

Herbert’s range of outcomes in the NFL is wide. If he can continue to improve his reads and manage his pass protections at the line of scrimmage well, he has the ability to rip into the league. His upside is worth investing in dynasty rookie drafts, but there’s no reason to go all in on him.