Justin Herbert will be the biggest bust of the NFL Draft

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Dan Halverson

March 3rd, 2020

A large number of college football players will have their lives changed during the NFL Draft.

It's a rite of passage. It's a payday. It's the opportunity to prove excellence at the college level was not a fluke. For some it will be the start of a long career. For others it will be the apex of their career, and the hype and hope that come with draft day will slowly devolve into an industry-wide realization that they aren’t quite good enough to be NFL stars.

I’m going to make a prediction most will probably call crazy. This isn’t hopeful thinking. It isn’t vindictive. It’s a precautionary opinion that runs contrary to public sentiment.

Herbert will struggle in the NFL

Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert will be an NFL bust.

Herbert just dominated the NFL Combine. He threw fantastic passes. He displayed outstanding athleticism. He was charismatic, mature, and well spoken. He is a leader, he has a Rose Bowl ring, and he has all the physical skills needed to be an outstanding quarterback in the NFL.

Herbert lacks a killer instinct

But Herbert have “it." He doesn't have a killer instinct. Herbert is a nice kid, but sometimes, when things don’t go well, you need to get angry—really angry. I don’t think he has that.

Herbert's accuracy is a concern

Herbert also isn’t as accurate as many think. He had a good completion percentage (66.8%) in 2019, much improved from his 59.4% in 2018, but many of those completions came on screens in an Oregon offense that provides numerous lateral passing opportunities.

This is where advanced metrics fail to account for outlier offenses like Oregon’s. Herbert has the ability to make accurate passes, but he had multiple conference games in 2019, where he looked incapable of putting together NFL-quality completions.

Herbert doesn't have the look of a leader

In a November loss to a bad Arizona State team, Herbert didn’t look like a leader or a future star. Some of his throws were head scratchers. Not because they were bad throws technically (he had plenty of those too), but because they were decisions that force doubt about his ability to read a defense and understand what is transpiring on the field.

Oregon’s offense forces defenses to make decisions and excels when poorly coached college players make the wrong decision. But in the NFL, when the gimmicks are gone and the opposing defenders are more skilled and coached better, Herbert will need to make a good throw and know which throw needs to be made. I haven’t seen anything from him on film to convince me he is ready for that level of decision making.

Teams should think twice before drafting Herbert

Herbert has a great skill set and will be given ample opportunity to prove me wrong in the NFL. He reminds me a lot of Josh Allen, and I won’t be surprised if he battles Allen for some of the lowest QB metrics across the league once he is given an opportunity to start.

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