With the draft now behind us, how will each draft pick for the LA Chargers contribute in 2020?
The 2020 draft is now complete. One of the most important evaluations of this draft class will be deciding which role each player has next year. Generally, the higher draft picks have a better chance of seeing the field early on. It wouldn’t surprise me if that was different this year though, both due to a need for player development and the effects of the pandemic.
QB Justin Herbert, Oregon
Justin Herbert was selected with the sixth pick, but don’t expect to see him in 2020. The team feels fairly comfortable with Tyrod Taylor starting as Herbert waits in the wings. General manager Tom Telesco has stressed patience and development when it comes to the Oregon quarterback.
The only situation where Herbert might play is if the team really bombs the start of the season again, but that seems unlikely with how they’ve constructed their roster. As long as the LA Chargers remain .500 or close to it, Taylor will be the starter throughout 2020. Perhaps there’s a way where Herbert gets to play in the last few weeks because of a clinched playoff spot, but that’s about it.
Some will compare the current set up with Taylor and Herbert to the 2018 Browns situation of Taylor and Baker Mayfield. For a number of reasons, that’s somewhat of a faulty comparison. Most importantly, that Browns roster was much worse than this current Chargers’ roster. Taylor will also have a much greater degree of success with the coaching appealing to his strengths, barring injury.
Another reason that the comparison isn’t sound is that Mayfield was the first overall pick who came out of a much more pro-ready scheme at Oklahoma. Oregon’s offense was pretty conservative in the Herbert era, which is more a referendum on the program than it is on Herbert. The effects of the pandemic could also differentiate the rookie years between the two of them, as it’s possible the NFL offseason is drastically reduced.
The right play is to have him sit for a year. Perhaps that’s not what some fans want when drafting a quarterback, but sitting behind Taylor for a year while taking practice reps will only increase Herbert’s chances of becoming a great starter.