Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
The Colts get a little lucky here with Herbert still on the board, so in this scenario, they put aside other pressing needs like wide receiver (Lamb?), defensive line and defensive back to snag this 6-foot-6 senior with a rocket arm. Indy might not be completely sold that Jacoby Brissett is its guy, and Herbert has shown he can lead an offense. That Senior Bowl showing did a lot to calm consistency concerns. After using seven of their 10 picks on defense in 2019, the Colts can’t pass on this tremendous value at a premier position. One more thing to consider: Brissett is signed through the 2020 season, meaning Indianapolis wouldn’t have to throw Herbert to the wolves out of the gate.
It would be surprising to see Herbert actually fall to #13 as there are a number of quarterback needy teams picking ahead of the Colts such as the Miami Dolphins, Los Angeles Chargers, and Carolina Panthers (with other teams like the Detroit Lions and Las Vegas Raiders also potentially in the hunt).
After LSU’s Joe Burrow and Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa, Herbert is considered essentially the consensus third best quarterback prospect in this year’s draft class—just ahead of Utah State’s Jordan Love.
As a senior quarterback for the Oregon Ducks, Herbert completed 286 of 428 throws (66.8%) for 3,471 passing yards, 32 touchdowns, and 6 interceptions in 14 starts.
He had a strong showing at the Senior Bowl recently, as he was named Senior Bowl MVP, and also earned “Practice Player of the Week” honors—as routinely the best quarterback on the field.
At 6’6”, 237 pounds, Herbert is a big bodied, big armed quarterback, who also has exceptional mobility at his size to make plays with his feet.
Where he has struggled is with his progression of reads, and he has been knocked for being “too quiet” playing a position that is the offense’s field general—although he reportedly built a great rapport with his new teammates during Senior Bowl week.
The Colts have been linked to another Senior Bowl quarterback, Utah State’s Jordan Love, in recent weeks, so it’s clear that this is a potential area of need for the team—where incumbent starter Jacoby Brissett underwhelmed down the stretch last season after returning from an injury—following a promising start.
As McShay points out, Brissett is still under contract for one more year in 2020, which means the Colts could theoretically groom Herbert behind him for a season before giving him the full-time starting duties in 2021—although it’s always possible Herbert could push for the Colts starting quarterback job much sooner.
While it still seems unlikely that Herbert is actually still on the board at #13 overall come late April, the Colts would definitely have to think long and hard about potentially selecting him—if given the rare opportunity.