The Big Blue-Print: Analyzing the Next Potential Giants QB: Justin Herbert
It has been a down week for the New York Giants following the dreadful performance they put up on “Thursday Night Football” against the Philadelphia Eagles. Some criticism was placed on the play-calling of head coach Pat Shurmur, while some have blamed the offensive line.
But the consensus point of fan ire has been the poor play of veteran quarterback Eli Manning. Between the countless check down passes and collapsing at any semblance of pressure, it appears the end may be near. The vast amount of fans who were clamoring for the Giants to select a quarterback in this past NFL Draft are out in full force, screaming “we told you so!”
Look, I was all-in on taking Saquon Barkley, who has proven to be a stud and the lone bright spot on this New York offense this season. Even with him, Manning is still struggling. Alas, now is the time for the Giants to bring in their quarterback of the future.
This is what inspired the idea for this weekly column. Every week, I will be looking at potential candidates to be the next signal caller for the Giants. Whether it’s through the draft, free agency, or trade. All possible options will be explored.
For Volume 1, we will look at the obvious choice, and that is top quarterback prospect Justin Herbert of Oregon.
Who is Justin Herbert?
Herbert is the cream of the crop in next year’s quarterback class, and it’s not even close. The Ducks quarterback towers over his offensive line at 6-6, with a stocky build of 225 pounds.
Surprisingly, Herbert wasn’t heavily recruited out of high school, as he held a three-star rating, according to 247Sports Composite Rankings. He had a similar path to that of Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz, who wasn’t highly touted out of high school either, and we all know how that turned out.
Many scouts this past year have said that if you needed a quarterback, you had to take one in the 2018 draft class. However, Herbert’s play through the first six games of the season have pushed him to the top of the pyramid. If you need a quarterback in the 2019 season, Herbert’s your guy.
Herbert has completed 106-of-168 pass attempts for 1,613 yards, 17 touchdowns, and only five interceptions this season.
There are some questions about his durability, as he suffered a broken collarbone last season with Oregon. That, and he suffered a broken femur in his junior season at high school.
What the Game Tape Shows
When watching game film of Herbert, he has all the tools necessary to be a successful NFL quarterback.
Herbert’s size is eerily similar to that of Buffalo Bills rookie quarterback Josh Allen. But what makes Herbert much more special is his accuracy, something that has been a point of contention with Allen. While he doesn’t have a cannon for an arm like Allen or Patrick Mahomes, it is a strong arm nonetheless. Back to that accuracy, Herbert’s throws are like threading a needle. Even in the tightest of windows, the ball hits his receiver right on the gloves.
Another downfield dime by Justin Herbert, although it was wiped away because of a holding call.
But it's throws like these is why Herbert is statistically the best deepball thrower in the country. Not just the arm, but the placement on those throws is outstanding. #GiantsPride pic.twitter.com/baQDzyQDaQ
— WBG84 (@WBG84) October 18, 2018
When looking at him, you’d think there’s no way he could escape the pass rush. But that’s where Herbert proves those critics wrong, as he looks extremely poised when standing in the pocket, and when he feels any sort of pressure, he’s not afraid to make a run for it. That is something teams are looking for in today’s NFL, a quarterback who’s not afraid to throw it on the run.
— Steve Palazzolo (@PFF_Steve) October 13, 2018
What NFL Executives/Scouts are Saying
As mentioned above, Herbert’s stock has risen throughout the course of the college football season.
According to Yahoo Sports, NFL scouts have “fallen hard” for Herbert. So much so, that they have called him a better overall prospect than Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield, Josh Allen, Josh Rosen, and Lamar Jackson. He has even been called a better talent than fellow Oregon alum Marcus Mariota.
Former Oregon defensive coordinator and NFL assistant Nick Aliotti has made headlines in the past couple of days. Aliotti heaped heavy praise towards Herbert, saying he hasn’t had that good of a feeling watching a quarterback since Andrew Luck and Hall of Famer John Elway.
“The last guy I can remember who gave me that feeling?” asked Aliotti. “Luck was one of them. Elway is a guy who really stood out. They could throw the bullets across the field and make throws on the line.”
Ironically, Elway was in attendance for the Oregon’s overtime victory over the Washington Huskies, as the Denver Broncos’ Case Keenum plan is not living up to expectations.
It didn’t end there, as one anonymous scout said Herbert is, “safer than [Pat] Mahomes,” and has a “better arm and body than [Jared] Goff.” That same scout did say he had similar traits to Wentz, but the Eagles quarterback still ranks higher than Herbert in terms of athleticism.
Herbert does display a quiet demeanor as opposed to a boisterous attitude, which will be seen seen as a positive for some teams.
Perhaps the strongest takeaway from all scouting reports is despite all the intangibles Herbert has right now, he still has more room to develop. That can be seen as a godsend for some teams, who will look to take his already impressive skill set to the next level.
A Giant Match
Herbert is just what the Giants need for their future under-center.
The Oregon Duck has the presence of mind to move behind a Giants offensive line that is far from perfect. Herbert exudes patience in the pocket, something in which Manning does not do at this point in his career. With that patience, he can wait for plays to develop deep downfield, whether it’s to Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard, or Evan Engram. The pieces to succeed are there, and Herbert will take advantage of them.
However, there is some doubt as to whether Herbert would declare for the NFL Draft, with many scouts saying it’s far from a given. However, with his stock rising and the amount of attention he has received from NFL executives, it will be hard for him to turn down an opportunity. Not to mention, Giants scouts were in attendance for the Washington game this past weekend, so the interest is definitely there.
If Herbert declares for the 2019 Draft, it will work in the Giants favor. Next year’s class will be defender heavy, and with many teams already set at quarterback, moving up the draft board will not be a necessity like it was in 2018. Based off how the Giants have played so far this season, it’s hard to see them finish with a winning record, and are favorites to be a lock for a top-ten pick.
Yes, the Giants passed on a quarterback to take Saquon Barkley. But now, they have the chance to take Justin Herbert next year to pair alongside their generational running back. Not bad if you ask me.
Important Note: Keep an eye on Herbert this Saturday, as he plays against the No. 25 ranked Washington State Cougars on prime-time television.
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