Oregon Ducks quarterback Justin Herbert has been viewed as a potential franchise quarterback by NFL scouts for years now and after completing a successful four-year run as the Oregon starter where he threw for 10,541 yards and 95 touchdowns, he enters the 2020 NFL Draft hoping to live up to the expectations. He certainly looks the part, measuring in at 6-foot-6 and 236 pounds at the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine while running a 4.68-second 40-yard dash and posting a 35.5-inch vertical.
However, tools have never really been the issue for Herbert. He’s proven at Oregon that he can make just about any throw needed and coaching staffs are going to be eager to see how far they can make the raw talent go. But it’s refinement that will ultimately define Herbert’s career and as the debate for who is the second quarterback taken behind Joe Burrow rages on, general managers in the market for quarterback at the top of the draft are weighing Herbert’s upside versus Tua Tagovailoa’s pedigree.
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With opinions varied on that front, the 2020 NFL Draft will be a lot about chance for Herbert. Which scouts like him most, where the teams that employ those scouts pick and how willing are they to make a move up the draft board to get him in what looks like an increasingly competitive quarterback market?
William Hill oddsmakers evaluated Herbert’s draft stock and took a look at the 2020 NFL Draft order to gauge which teams might be most likely to draft Herbert and are now offering odds for who will land his services.
Which team will draft Justin Herbert?
Miami Dolphins -120
Los Angeles Chargers +150
Carolina Panthers +700
Jacksonville Jaguars +900
New England Patriots +1000
Las Vegas Raiders +1400
Indianapolis Colts +1500
Detroit Lions +2500
Washington Redskins +2500
Denver Broncos +2500
Cincinnati Bengals +2500
Tampa Bay Buccaneers +3000
With recent rumors indicating that the Dolphins like Herbert over Tagovailoa and Miami likely the next franchise to pick after Cincinnati that needs a quarterback at No. 5, it’s easy to see why the Dolphins have the inside track here. But how much stock realistically can you put into those reports after months of speculation that Tagovailoa would be their target?
As for the Chargers, if they don’t trade up to move into the top five, it appears likely they’re going to take whoever is left over between Tagovailoa and Herbert after Miami has made their pick. That creates a little bit of value on the Chargers at +150 because it’s entirely possible the recent news is just typical late-draft process smoke and mirrors.
Looking a little further down the odds board, the Panthers and Jaguars are the dark horses here. Herbert isn’t a perfect prospect and if the Dolphins or Chargers convince themselves there’s too much risk given the lack of success for Oregon quarterbacks at the NFL level, he could fall deeper into the top 10 where both Carolina and Jacksonville have a need at quarterback. Or either of the two teams could wind up trading up to grab Herbert if he’s their guy and they’re convinced that Miami is serious about him at No. 5.
All of the remaining teams on the odds board except the Lions and Redskins (who have publicly committed to Matthew Stafford and Dwayne Haskins) would have to trade up to have any realistic chance of landing Herbert, and most would only be likely to do that if Herbert began to fall to keep the trade costs from getting too high. That’s tough to forecast so it’s hard to see much value on those long shots until we start to see viable reporting that somebody is sniffing around and a trade becomes imminent.
Ultimately, Tagovailoa still feels like the better fit for Miami and Herbert feels like a more natural fit with the Chargers, so it feels like now is the time to take advantage of recent price movement and snag Los Angeles at +150. Although it might be worth waiting to see if that price continues to rise and to gauge just how serious the reports out of Miami are.