Oregon Ducks’ QB Justin Herbert will be returning for his senior year. This was announced Wednesday, Dec. 26th, in a statement released by the school:
Oregon’s head football coach Mario Cristobal said that he could not be happier with this announcement. Coach Cristobal also said that Herbert is a very special talent, and they could use his talent on the field next season. Mel Kiper also thinks Herbert is a special talent, as he had ranked him as the 6th overall draft prospect for the upcoming NFL Draft, and other considering him the best QB in the draft. Herbert has been getting NFL Draft hype since the last draft ended.
At 6-foot-6, 233 pounds Herbert has the perfect NFL QB frame. At Oregon this past season he completed 59.6% of his passes, threw for 2,985 yards with 28 tds and 8 ints. Oregon finished the season 8-4 and will be playing Michigan State on New Years Eve in the Redbox Bowl at 3 p.m. ET.
In the Oregon State game on Nov. 23, Herbert suffered a shoulder injury. Earlier this month he declared that he was healthy enough to play in the bowl game.
In his career Herbert has thrown for 6,904 yards with 62 tds and 17 ints.
What benefit does Herbert get for staying at Oregon for his senior year?
Well first of all, he gets his degree. Not only is Justin Herbert an insane athlete, he is also doing very well in the classroom. In 2017, Herbert was named a First Team Academic All-American. At Oregon he is majoring in Biology and as of the end of last year had a 4.08 GPA. Herbert is taking the Andrew Luck route to the NFL. As we all remember, Andrew Luck was in the same position at Stamford and decided to play his senior season and graduate with a degree in Architecture. It certainly worked out for Luck, as he graduated with his degree and was drafted first overall in the 2012 NFL Draft.
Next, Oregon is now going to be the favorite to win the PAC-12, and maybe have a serious shot at making a run for the College Football Playoff. Every college football player’s dream is to win a championship at their respective school. Justin Herbert’s time at Oregon really hasn’t given him much an opportunity for that. The teams at Oregon since 2016 have been mediocre at best. The Ducks have gone 4-8 in 2016, 7-6 in 2017, and 8-4 in 2018. The recruiting class that Oregon has for the 2019 season ranks 6th in the nation with the number 2 player in the country committed to play there next year. This team will be absolutely stacked, as they return most of the starters and reload the positions they needed the most help with this season. They will be a young, and very talented team in 2019, and having Justin Herbert back for his senior season significantly helps their chances of winning a national championship.
Finally, Justin Herbert will be able to play with his brother, Patrick Herbert, next season. Patrick is a tight end prospect that committed to Oregon in may, and signed his letter of intent last week. I’m sure having the opportunity to throw to his brother in college played somewhat of a role in his decision to stay one more year as well.
What detriment does Herbert get for staying at Oregon for his senior year?
Well, the obvious detriment that Justin Herbert will have from staying for his senior year is the loss of money he would have made from the NFL Draft. On average, players in the first 5 picks of the NFL Draft make somewhere between $26-33 million over the span of their rookie contract with about 70% of that being guaranteed, and an average signing bonus of somewhere between $18-21 million. Last year, Baker Mayfield’s rookie contract was $32.68 million with a signing bonus of $21.85 million.
While Justin Herbert may not have gone 1st overall in this year’s draft, he still was projected in very high, and a guy with what seems like no flaws might have gone higher. Not only is he missing out on a full extra year of money, he is also potentially pushing himself out of the top 10 of next years draft and maybe even further.
Obviously we have no way of knowing whom will be drafting when next year. However, we know a lot about whom might be going entering into the draft, and it is really congested. Potentially, Herbert will be up against QBs by the name of Tua Tagovailoa (Alabama), Jake Fromm (Georgia), and Jacob Eason (Washington) to name a few. Not to mention all the other huge talents entering that year. So even if all is well for Herbert next season, he has some big names to beat out for the best QB in the draft, and if he can’t then he might fall into the 2nd round or worse.
If something were to happen to Herbert that would serious damage his draft stock next season, like significant injury or something, he could drop into the second or third rounds or even the late rounds. This would cause him to lose millions of dollars. On average, players drafted in the second round of the NFL Draft make $5.1 million over their 4 year contracts with only 50% of that being guaranteed. It only gets worse from there. The average that takes the biggest hit is the signing bonus which drops significantly to just $756,000, very different from Baker’s $21.85 million. Of course all of this could also not be the case and Herbert could still be the best QB in the 2020 NFL Draft, but he just make his chances of being drafted where he is projected for 2019 much more difficult.
What does this mean for the 2019 NFL Draft?
It means that Dwayne Haskins is thanking Justin Herbert immensely. Now, Haskins is the number 1 QB prospect in the draft and will have a lot less competition to deal with, unless of course Kyler Murray decides to play football instead of baseball and enter into the NFL Draft this year.
Although Dwayne Haskins hasn’t yet finished his first full season as a starter as a redshirt sophomore at Ohio State, he is still expected to enter into the draft this year. Haskins is a major talent, and it is expected that NFL teams will not look at him as their number 1 QB in this year’s draft.
Other QBs who stand to benefit from Herbert returning to Oregon are Will Grier (WVU), Daniel Jones (Duke) and Jarrett Stidham (Auburn), who are looking to enter into the draft as well.
Justin Herbert certainly clears the way for others in the 2019 NFL Draft, and might make it harder on him in next years 2020 draft.