Forget Rookie of the Year, Justin Herbert is an MVP Candidate

Garrett Sharp-Craig Editorials

I know the headline may sound a little crazy, but bear with me for a second.

Justin Herbert has been electric in his five starts as the LA Chargers‘ quarterback. The former Oregon signal caller has thrown for 290 yards in each game this season including last week where he accounted for 412 yards and 4 touchdowns against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Despite his instant success, many forget that during the pre-draft process, Herbert was labeled by many experts as a bust. These so-called “experts” criticized Herbert’s leadership skills, and some doubted his ability to play in a pro-style offense.

Here is what PFF had to say in April:

Fast-forward a few months and not only is Herbert succeeding, but he is absolutely dominating. The Eugene native is in the Top 5 for yards per attempt and quarterback rating, as well as every deep-throw metric. With every game, Herbie is getting better at taking care of the football and limiting turnovers. In Herbert’s last two games he had eight total touchdowns and zero interceptions. Now, without Tyrod Taylor staring over his shoulder, Herbert can play freely and with poise.

Melissa Macatee

Herbert embraces contact and finishes a great run vs the Auburn Tigers

Herbert still has an uphill battle in the NFL MVP Race. Russell Wilson, Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers will be at the forefront of the conversation, but Herbert still has plenty of time to make up ground. He is on a similar statistical pace of guys on that list, and with two fewer starts.

It seems as though PFF has changed their original opinion on Justin Herbert:

The biggest knock on Herbert’s MVP resume is his lack of winning. Although he is 1-4 in starts, Herbert has played each team tough and has yet to lose by double digits. Herbert and the Chargers have a far easier slate in the coming weeks, with the Broncos, Raiders, Jets and Dolphins penned in for the next month. With wins in three of those four games, the Chargers could be sitting at 5-5 a little past the halfway mark of the season. If he continues to play the way he has up to this point, Herbert should be firmly positioned in the MVP race among some of the NFL’s best.

Maybe I’m just an overly-excited Duck fan, or maybe I have a point?

Garrett Sharp-Craig
Eugene, Oregon
Top Photo by Twitter via @PFF

Natalie Liebhaber, the Volunteer Editor for this article, works in the financial technology industry in Bozeman, Montana.

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