Option 2: Justin Herbert
The player that most fans would want to see trot out as the Chargers starting quarterback is Justin Herbert. The Chargers invested a high draft pick on him and they want to see if they have found their franchise quarterback.
Herbert could not have been drafted into a better situation. The Chargers have great offensive weapons, a veteran quarterback to learn from, an improved offensive line and one of the league’s top defenses. All of which could greatly benefit his development. The offense will also start to involve more of the pistol formation, which was used often in Oregon’s offense, to make the transition easier for Herbert.
Herbert has all the tools and traits that NFL teams look for in a quarterback. Strong arm, mobility and football IQ just to name a few. While he has these ideal tools and traits, it will be difficult for him to be the team’s starter immediately.
With COVID-19 and teams not being able to have in-person meetings, workouts and everything else, throwing a rookie into the starting role after an unusual offseason is not the smartest thing to do.
He graduated from the University of Oregon with a 4.01 GPA and won the William V. Campbell Trophy, which is awarded to a college football player with academic and athletic excellence. With his ability to retain information, as seen in countless interviews, Herbert can have the playbook mastered in no time.
However, without being able to meet and develop chemistry with the rest of the team, this will make it difficult for the offense to get on the same page with Herbert. In any other offseason, I would say there is a decent chance that he could be the Week 1 starter, but this offseason is anything but normal.
The best way to ease Herbert into the starting role will be in the scenario where the team is either already eliminated from playoff contention or they are locked into a certain playoff seed heading into the final game of the regular season.
This is exactly what the Chiefs did with Patrick Mahomes a few seasons ago. Mahomes got his first start in a meaningless Week 17 game as the Chiefs already had their playoff seeding locked up. After sitting most of the season and learning, Mahomes eventually got some playing time and we all know how that has gone so far.
I’m not saying that Herbert will turn into Mahomes 2.0 if this scenario plays out, but sitting behind a veteran and learning will be extremely beneficial for any young quarterback.
Starting Herbert before he is ready could be detrimental to his development as we have seen with many other young quarterbacks in the past. The best thing to do is give him some time to improve his game and experience the grind of an NFL season.
After watching Herbert’s film non-stop since January, there is a lot to like about him and fans should feel confident about him being the successor to Philip Rivers, but it will take time. He has some mechanical issues and inconsistencies that need to be cleaned up, but by sitting for a year to learn and develop, he has a great opportunity to become a successful NFL quarterback.