As the college football season is over and the NFL is headed to the final three games of the season, many fans and media are shifting their focus to the 2020 NFL Draft. With top college prospects showcasing their talent over the past month in bowl games, Justin Herbert capped off his Oregon career with three rushing touchdowns in Oregon’s Rose Bowl win over Wisconsin.
On Thursday, Fox Sports Radio’s Colin Cowherd was joined by former Oregon lineman and current SiriusXM radio host Geoff Schwartz to talk about a number of topics in the NFL and college football. One of the topics brought up due to Schwartz’s familiarity as an Oregon alumn was quarterback Justin Herbert.
Cowherd has previously said on his show that he likes Herbert as a prospect and with the Carolina Panthers hiring Matt Rhule, Cowherd suggested with the No. 7 pick the Carolina Panthers could take Herbert.
“Carolina and the Chargers, many suspect Justin Herbert will be the third quarterback taken. He’s got remarkable numbers with just Oregon players,” said Cowherd.
The radio host then turned to his guest, Geoff Schwartz to see what he had to say about the Oregon quarterback as an NFL prospect. Schwartz noted that Herbert was doing a lot compared with lesser talent to the other top quarterbacks in the draft.
“He can do everything you want him to do.” said Schwartz. “He can make all the throws, he can make the reads. He won the award this year for best student-athlete in the country, he can do all that. A couple of things I think that are going to worry people. He does get often robotic at times, where he can’t get off his first or second read. Part of that, in my opinion, is that the offense was/is, they have a new OC now but, was conservative. And to your point, they don’t have a pro wide receiver. They don’t have a pro running back. They have a pro tight end who missed half the season. And so I think when you get him around better pieces, I hope that that robotic nature gets out.”
Through the sixth game of the season, tight end Jacob Breeland was picking up steam as a potential first-round pick before suffering a knee injury against Colorado in October. With Breeland out and a number of other injuries to wide receivers this season, Herbert was dealing with a limited talent pool.
“And we saw, by the way, big games this year, the Utah game, the Wisconsin game, the second half of the Washington game. He can make the plays when asked to do so.” Schwartz continued, “Use his legs, which he did not use all season long until the end of the game. And the last thing is more of a technical thing and I’m not sure quarterbacks get better at this but his touch from an intermediate route, those routes over the linebacker between the safety, need to improve a little bit.”
Schwartz concluded, “But he’s got the canon, man. He’s got all the intangibles, it’s a matter of I think a strong coach that he goes to, that kinda forces him to come out of his shell a little bit, be more aggressive and take control on offense.”
“He’s not (Joe) Burrow throwing to five-star NFL players or Tua (Tagovailoa) throwing to what is the best receiving corps in America by far,” added Cowherd.
Former Pro Bowl wide receiver and current FS1 analyst T. J. Houshmandzadeh talked with Cowherd earlier in the week and praised Herbert. Houshmandzadeh watched Herbert work out recently and gave a rave review.
“Animal, oh man, unbelievable,” said Houshmandzadeh of Herbert. “Canon. Big. Like he’s so big. Great arm, good touch. Probably ran routes for about 45 minutes to an hour. I was out there watching, working with the guys that were running routes. The way he’s throwing the ball, wow, it’s unreal. He’s just a big dude. His lower body is huge, he’s tall, just real thick.”
Over his four seasons at Oregon, Herbert appeared in 43 games with 10,541 total passing yards and 95 passing touchdowns. Herbert finished his career second in Oregon all-time passing yards and career passing touchdowns.
In his final game at Oregon, Herbert was named the offensive MVP of the 106th Rose Bowl in a 28-27 victory over Wisconsin. Herbert only had one rushing touchdown coming into the game, but he had three rushing touchdowns in the win, including a 30-yard rushing touchdown that gave the Ducks the lead in the fourth quarter.