Justin Herbert: What his return to Oregon means for the Jaguars
Justin Herbert, the top-rated quarterback prospect out of Oregon, may have stunned the Jaguars and other teams by deciding to stay in school.
At least a half dozen NFL teams might have quivered a bit when the news came out that Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert would remain in college for his senior season. For the Jacksonville Jaguars, a franchise needed a young arm to develop, the announcement might have slowed the draft process down slightly.
It should not stop the 5-10 team from grabbing signal caller in the early rounds in April.
This past week, one national writer told me, the Jaguars must select a quarterback in the first round next year. We all know by the stories I have written, I still believe the team will sign or trade for a veteran signal caller and draft a passer for the future.
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I do not think it has to be the first selection of the franchise if the right veteran is brought in knowing the team belongs to him for a year or possibly two depending on the team’s success.
As James Crepea of the Oregonian wrote on Monday, Herbert is widely regarded as the top draft-eligible prospect at the quarterback position.
"“Herbert threw for 2,985 yards with 28 touchdowns and eight interception and rushed for 173 yards and two scores this season,” Crepa states. “The Eugene native enters the Redbox Bowl against Michigan State with a nation-long steak of 27 games with a touchdown pass.”"
The news means teams that are quarterback-needy (see Blake Bortles and Cody Kessler) will reposition draft boards, scout other talent and make sure they check and recheck their data to find the “next” in line to be selected as the first quarterback in the Draft.
Herbert’s decision leads to my idea of taking an offensive lineman with the first pick and moving back into the Draft to take a signal caller.
The Jaguars, if the season ended today, would draft ninth overall. The team has four picks in the first three rounds and needs major help in all areas on offense. Dwayne Haskins of Ohio State appears to be the second-rated prospect coming out, but he has not made his decision yet.
Will Grier of West Virginia, Daniel Jones of Duke and Ryan Finley of North Carolina State all figure to be top 50 picks.
Another season in college will allow Herbert to grow more as a player.
"Per Crepea, “Of 21 FBS quarterbacks to throw for at least 15 touchdowns and five or fewer interceptions in 2016 and 2017, Herbert was the only player to do so both years. He has not thrown an interception in 15 of 27 career starts, including 13 of 20 in Pac-12 play.”"
The knock on Haskins, if any, is that he was the starter for the Buckeyes for a short time and has not acquired the same kind of film to break down his strengths and weaknesses as Herbert.
Drafting him in the top10 of this draft could be a high-risk, high reward type of gamble.
The Jaguars, having had issues at the quarterback position all season, cannot afford to take another signal caller in the first round who cannot lead this team to the playoffs and beyond.