The LA Chargers selected Justin Herbert with the sixth overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. While Herbert had a record-shattering rookie season for the Bolts, he was still the consensus third-best quarterback in the draft and the Chargers were the third team to take a quarterback.
The quarterback that Herbert got compared to the most in his rookie season was Tua Tagovailoa, who the Miami Dolphins selected one pick before the Chargers took Herbert. The Dolphins would certainly go back and change that pick, as there are already questions about Tua in the NFL while Herbert seems to be a bonafide star.
They might not be the only team that regrets not taking Justin Herbert. The Cincinnati Bengals had the first overall pick in the draft and took Joe Burrow after the greatest college season of all time. Burrow was the consensus no. 1 pick and it was as big of a no-brainer as Trevor Lawrence going no. 1 this year.
That does not mean that the Bengals should be happy with the decision, though. NFL analyst Mike Tannenbaum said on ESPN’s ‘Get Up’ that the Bengals should definitely regret not taking Herbert.
.@RealTannenbaum thinks the Bengals should regret drafting Joe Burrow over Justin Herbert ?
Tannenbaum claims that he was petitioning for Herbert over Burrow before the draft… so we decided to do some digging.
It checks out. Mike Tannenbaum did declare well before the draft that Justin Herbert should be the first quarterback taken in the 2020 NFL Draft. Granted, it was in November of 2019, and he may have changed his opinion after seeing Burrow win the National Championship, but he still said it.
Mike Tannenbaum also says that Chargers QB Justin Herbert would have put up better numbers with LSU.
The big quote from the first clip above is Tannenbaum claiming that Justin Herbert would have put up better numbers than Joe Burrow if he was the quarterback of the LSU Tigers in 2019. And while every LSU and Cincinnati Bengals fan may disagree, I think Tannenbaum is right here.
Burrow was really good in his rookie season before getting hurt, let’s not get that twisted. He is a great young quarterback and along with Herbert is going to be a key figurehead in this wave of new young quarterbacks. He is the farthest thing from a bust.
However, look at his situation with LSU compared to Herbert. Herbert had four-star receivers that he was throwing to in a system that, quite frankly, did not fit his skillset at all. Yes, he did not look as polished as Burrow in college, but he was in a much worse situation (although Oregon is still a great situation to be in compared to most schools).
When it comes to the physical traits Herbert has him beat. He has a much bigger arm, is faster, stronger and was more accurate throwing the football in his rookie season than Burrow was. They both played behind terrible offensive lines and Burrow had good weapons in Cincy, so that comparison is fair.
And just look at who Burrow had in college. He had a first-round running back in Clyde Edwards-Helaire. He had not one but two first-round receivers in Justin Jefferson (who just had the greatest rookie season for a receiver ever) and Ja’Marr Chase. He had another second-round receiver in Terrance Marshall. A third-round center in Lloyd Cushenberry.
The 2019 LSU Tigers set the record for the most first-round picks for one school in NFL Draft history in 2020. Five different Tigers were selected in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft.
How many first-round picks did Oregon have in 2020? Just one, Justin Herbert. Penei Sewell extended that list to two players after being taken seventh overall in 2021. The next-highest offensive player in 2020 was Shane Lemieux, taken in the fifth round. There were no other offensive players taken in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Justin Herbert being as great as he was for the Chargers in 2020 was no accident, so we can safely say he would have been better with LSU and that the Bengals should regret letting him fall all the way to six.