So... what if it doesn’t happen?
What if the polar ice caps stop melting tomorrow? What if we develop a working vaccine for the coronavirus next week? What if Carole Baskin didn’t kill her husband?
What if the Bengals don’t draft Joe Burrow?
What if the Bengals do draft Justin Herbert?
It’s not exactly fair to Herbert. Had he declared for the 2019 NFL Draft, many believed he would’ve been a top-10 pick. That seems to be the case this year anyways, but the argument of him being the best quarterback in the draft would’ve been slightly more legitimate had he joined that polarizing 2019 class.
Instead, he’s the clear No. 3 in this year’s crop of passers...or maybe he’s the No. 2 now? Nobody knows. Nobody ever knows until it’s too late.
What we do know is that when it comes to size, speed, and arm strength, Herbert has the best combination of all three in this class. And like every year before this year, that is being valued extremely highly by teams looking for their next quarterback.
- Position: Quarterback
- School: Oregon
- Year: Senior
- Date of Birth: 3/10/1998
- Height: 6’6 1/4”
- Weight: 236
- Arm: 32 7/8”
- Hand: 10”
40-Yard Dash: 4.68
Vertical Jump: 35 1/2”
Broad Jump: 123”
Short Shuttle: 4.46
- 2016: 8 games, 162/255 (63.5%), 1,936 yards (7.6 yds/att), 19 touchdowns, 4 interceptions
- 2017: 8 games, 139/206 (67.5%), 1,983 yards (9.6 yds/att), 15 touchdowns, 5 interceptions
- 2018: 13 games, 240/404 (59.4%), 3,151 yards (7.8 yds/att), 29 touchdowns, 8 interceptions
- 2019: 14 games, 286/428 (66.8%), 3,471 yards (10.8 yds/att), 32 touchdowns, 6 interceptions
Career Production-Based Outlook (per James Cobern’s data)
80.11 career production score — this score eclipses the:
- Long-term Starter threshold score
- Multiple Pro Bowl threshold score
- Multiple All-Pro threshold score
- Long-term Starter average score
- Multiple Pro Bowl average score
Highest conceivable potential: Multiple Pro Bowl
What he does well
Herbert can sling it, there’s no denying that. The ball comes out quick and explodes out of his hand. The cliche “he can make every throw” is an overused one, but it truly does apply for Herbert. From a clean pocket, or an off-balanced platform, Herbert will get the ball downfield in a hurry and with a surprising degree of accuracy.
While he looks the part of the stereotypical tall and strong arm quarterback, he has light feet in the pocket and can scramble out with ease. He’s an effective thrower on the run who seems to understand timing on rollouts better than most at his age. His 4.68 40-yard dash and 7.06 3-cone will prove to be effective in these situations.
It’s been lost in the process, but Herbert’s demeanor is that of someone who doesn’t get too high or too low. For a franchise that needs someone who doesn’t get lost in the moment, Herbert fits the bill in that regard.
Where he’s more limited
Herbert’s accuracy is not necessarily the problem, it’s everything that comes before that. He’s strikingly late when scanning the field and has issues getting the ball out quickly. He could get away with this because he could get the ball to his receiver on time with just his velocity, but it’s not going to be that easy in the NFL.
The athleticism to escape trouble is there for Herbert, but he freezes too often under pressure. His inability to create out of structure is a prominent red flag, and it’s frustrating to witness at times. Herbert had the luxury of playing behind a talented offensive line, and perhaps that made him complacent. It’s clear how things change with him when the protection is good and when it isn’t.
There are questions about Herbert’s personality being a detriment, but the on-field inconsistencies largely overshadow whatever subjective intangible troubles teams may have with him.
Fit with the Bengals
The Bengals need a franchise quarterback and Herbert is vying to become just that.
Like us, the Bengals did their due diligence on Herbert. They spent ample amounts of time with him at the Senior Bowl and used him as their first-string quarterback. Being a top senior prospect coming into the 2019 season, the Bengals not only were well aware of him early in the scouting process, they were always going to consider him if they found themselves in the position they’re in now.
It’s too bad that Joe Burrow decided to light the college football world on fire, because if he never did, Herbert might be the favorite to go first overall.