For all the glitz, glamour and recognition one receives for being the first pick in the NFL Draft, it usually means going to an awful team. That’s why, especially as a quarterback, falling a bit in the first round can be beneficial to long-term success.
I firmly believe the Oregon coaching staff did not get the most out of Justin Herbert, and that this may have caused him to slide — albeit only to No. 6 — in the draft. If the Ducks had a first-rate offensive coordinator like Joe Moorhead the past two seasons, there’s a chance Herbert would have gone No. 1. I believe with better coaching Herbert puts up 2019 Joe Burrow type numbers and leads the Ducks to the CFB Playoff. Top that off with his ideal size and cannon of an arm, and you’re arguably looking at the first pick in the 2020 draft.
Questions about Herbert’s leadership and decision making that past two seasons would have been deemed obsolete. With better coaching, Herbert wouldn’t have made many of the poor decisions he made in an often out-of-sync, clumsy, predictable, easy-to-defend and incoherent Oregon offense.
In the below video from ESPN’s Get Up, Mario Cristobal discusses Herbert’s draft stock. When asked if Herbert has issues in his decision making, Cristobal replied, “I really don’t think so, I think if anything, we could have done a better job as a coaching staff at certain times in setting him up for success … “
But because of this, the blessing in disguise reveals itself that by sliding in the draft Herbert goes to a better team.
While the Cincinnati Bengals and Miami Dolphins are in complete rebuild mode, the LA Chargers are not. This is a team that won 12 games in 2018, has some talent at wide receiver and is just a couple pieces away from being a playoff team. He won’t be thrown to the wolves right away as he learns behind veteran starter Tyrod Taylor.
Not a bad place to be for a rookie quarterback with No. 1 overall pick abilities.
Oregon received some negative press leading up to the draft as a school that produces busts at NFL quarterback. So how fitting does it seem that Herbert gets drafted by the franchise that produced the Ducks greatest NFL quarterback in Hall-of-Famer Dan Fouts?
Pac-12 in the 2020 NFL Draft
As always, John Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News writes a nice recap of the draft and how it’s all about SEC domination, then everybody else. He also mentions his belief that Herbert will do better in pros then many believe, mostly due to the Oregon coaching staff not maximizing his potential.
Total picks for all seven rounds:
SEC: 63 (not a record, but close)
Big Ten: 48
Big 12: 21
Total picks in the top-three rounds:
SEC: 40 (a record)
Big Ten: 17
Big 12: 12
Average Picks per team (all rounds):
Big Ten: 3.4
Big 12: 2.1
The takeaway here is that despite the Pac-12’s image issues and revenue shortfalls, the conference is still holding its own come Draft Day. That is, with all the Power-5 conferences not named the SEC. The question is whether the Pac-12 can continue to do this. Or, will the revenue disparity begin to affect the league’s talent in the years to come?
If only the Pac-12 could draft a new commissioner, as in, right now!
Top photo credit: Kevin Cline
Natalie Liebhaber, the FishDuck.com Volunteer Editor for this article, works in the financial technology industry in Bozeman, Montana.
Darren Perkins is a sales professional and 1997 Oregon graduate. After finishing school, he escaped the rain and moved to sunny Southern California where he studied screenwriting for two years at UCLA. Darren grew up in Eugene and in 1980, at the tender age of five, he attended his first Oregon football game. His lasting memory from that experience was an enthusiastic Don Essig announcing to the crowd: “Reggie Ogburn, completes a pass to… Reggie Ogburn.” Captivated by such a thrilling play, Darren’s been hooked on Oregon football ever since. Currently living in Spokane, Darren enjoys flaunting his yellow and green superiority complex over friends and family in Cougar country.
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