Comparing Justin Herbert’s rookie year to the best quarterbacks in the NFL

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Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports – LA Chargers Justin Herbert

Justin Herbert’s rookie season has been remarkable for the LA Chargers.

Justin Herbert has been absolutely phenomenal in the short amount of time that he has spent in the NFL. After being thrust into the LA Chargers starting role, Herbert has excelled, re-defining what it means to have a great rookie season.

Herbert is currently on pace to smash the all-time rookie passing yards and passing touchdowns record. He is a sure-fire lock to win the Offensive Rookie of the Year and is putting up numbers similar to the actual MVP candidates this season.

But how does he compare to those MVP candidates’ first years as starting quarterbacks? For one of those three candidates, that first year was a legitimate rookie year. For others, they got the benefit of sitting for a year-plus before becoming a starter.

Let’s compare Herbert first to the only MVP candidate that actually started as a rookie.

Justin Herbert compared to Russell Wilson’s 2012

Russell Wilson was a huge surprise coming into the league as a third-round pick and took the league by storm by making the Pro Bowl as a rookie. Since then, Wilson has not had a single losing season in the league and the Seattle Seahawks are well on their way to yet another winning season in 2020.

However, when you compare his rookie numbers to that of Herbert, it is not particularly close. Wilson was great as a rookie, Herbert is even better.

Wilson completed 64.1% of his passes for 3,118 yards, 26 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Of course, Herbert has not completed his entire rookie season, so we will compare those numbers to his 15-game pace (as he did not start in Week 1).

Herbert currently has a completion percentage that is 3.9% higher and is on pace for 4,498 yards, 36 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He is on pace for the same number of picks but with 1,300 more yards and 10 more touchdowns.

But what about on the ground? Wilson ran for 489 yards and four touchdowns. Herbert is on pace for 311 yards and five touchdowns. Slight edge in rushing yardage for Wilson but that is really it.