NAME: Justin Herbert
JERSEY: No. 10
RECRUITMENT RATING: 3-star
WT: 225 lbs
PROS: Has requisite arm strength, size, and mobility to attract NFL scouts. Can really sling the pill, putting extra mustard on throws that need zip to the boundary and airing it out 50+ yards downfield. Not at all fearful of testing coverage deep and loves to give his WRs a chance. Generally an accurate quarterback, especially to the intermediate areas of the field. Has a bit of a sidearm release but it doesn’t seem to affect his ball placement or velocity, rather just changing his trajectory slightly–but that only helps him adjust arm angles when throwing with pressure in his face. Gets whiplash like effect with the sidearm release that puts smoke on the football.
Can place the football well relative to coverage and between zones, and knows he has the strength to lace it in to tight windows and the touch to drop it over second level defenders. Protects WRs from hits on underneath/intermediate patterns; puts the ball up high against tight man coverage to let his receivers elevate and attack. No notable accuracy drop off when on the hoof; has the ability to generate velocity off platform. Has some good scramble/improvise plays; is dangerous as a runner and can get in to the second level.
CONS: Has rockback issues in his lower body mechanics that affect accuracy, especially when looking to throw a frozen rope. Base widens and weight leans back onto back foot. Will also regularly sail balls downfield, in part due to the whip motion of the arm, but also due to the inefficient weight transfer of the rockback. Stays on his first read quite long into his progression, and when he moves to his second read, it’s often from a place of panic; accuracy notably drops off on throws beyond the first read. Internal clock seems a little too quick, but return from injury may have exacerbated this phenomenon. Often a first read-scramble QB. The sidearm release becomes more prominent when he’s hurried or when he wants to release the ball quickly, and thereby short throws can spike down.
Generally struggles with pressure–again, considerations given for return to injury–and will panic, putting the ball in dangerous spots as he throws under duress. Will radically step in bucket/lose mechanics in the face of even faraway pressure, which affects accuracy. Most interceptions on tape clearly tied to presence of pressure, which DCs will note. Doesn’t do well to acknowledge the blitz pre-snap and has poor pocket presence–will step up into pressure or fail to sense it and become rather statuesque. When emphasizing over-the-top motion, a hitch will occasionally appear that slows down motion–but release process is generally speedy, if you don’t time the rockback.
CONS: Has some system concerns coming out of a spread offense, will get flustered when first look isn’t there, either latching on and waiting for his receiver to uncover or completely bailing on the play. Will need to develop further comfort to use full field of play with progressions. Questionable ability to control and dictate things at the line of scrimmage, ran some plays into teeth of a defensive call and was handcuffed after the snap. Decision making under pressure was not ideal, needs to hasten clock and understand where the easy completion is if caught under duress of a free rusher.