The 2020 Senior Bowl quarterback group isn't the best — or the worst — we've seen in recent memory. Between the top two passers, the event should see two first-round signal-callers, further reinforcing the all-star event as a valuable staple of the NFL draft process and allowing top prospects the chance to land the early impression rose from a franchise.
Predictably, the value of the landing spot for these players is paramount to seeing each one become the best possible version of himself. With the week of Senior Bowl practices coming to a close, we're able to gain a sense of who may project well to certain teams and who may be better avoiding certain situations.
Oregon's Justin Herbert
Ideal fit: Indianapolis Colts
Justin Herbert isn't often projected to the Colts, namely because he doesn't have the stock that consistently puts him in the conversation. Herbert is often considered out of the Colts' striking range. But if he's on the board, he's a terrific fit. Consider Herbert's profile as a passer: highly intelligent, possesses excellent arm strength and wins predominantly within the pocket.
The Colts' former quarterback, Andrew Luck? Highly intelligent with good arm strength while winning predominantly within the pocket. Passes the sniff test, right? But the biggest variable that makes Herbert such an attractive fit is the support staff he'd be greeted with in Indianapolis. A viable running game boosted by a stout offensive line gives Herbert the stability he needs on offense to continue to find his groove as a top-shelf passer. Even from a leadership perspective, Luck was a goofy "aw, shucks" type of leader. With Herbert's lingering uncertainties about how vocal he can be as the face of a franchise, there's a foundation and track record that would marry these two parties together well.
Utah State's Jordan Love
Ideal fit: Los Angeles Chargers
Jordan Love makes a lot of sense here for a number of reasons. Love is a big arm with a more fluid skill set at an athlete than Herbert. He will thrive in off-script situations and would exceed with reps where he's asked to disperse the football quickly inside of 10 yards. Diminishing his negative plays will be key to Love living up to his potential. The Chargers' receiving corps features the likes of Keenan Allen and Mike William; a fun blend of catch radius and route running that would afford Love with consistent targets to feed the football too. Williams' downfield component would become a much more effective weapon with Love's arm delivering the football versus Philip Rivers' tired right arm.
Add in how quick the Chargers were to throw the football last season: Rivers' average time to throw was fifth-fastest in the NFL last season, according to Next Gen Stats. That component can be key to Love eliminating a lot of his negative reps on film. By making quick, crisp decisions, Love will be less exposed to misreads in the deep areas of the field. From there, his skills out of structure can spring big plays down the field for Allen and Williams.
Oklahoma's Jalen Hurts
Ideal fit: Chicago Bears
Jalen Hurts hasn't inspired a great deal this week with his processing quickness and accuracy with the football, but he's a hell of a leader, worker and athlete. His arm strength is just fine; and with more work in his next round of receivers, Hurts may have passable accuracy to be effective behind center.
So let's run through the checklist. You've got a quarterback with some spotty accuracy issues that is a great athlete and would benefit from a coaching staff that craft some more simple reads. Sound like anyone in Chicago? Mitch Trubisky is cut from the same cloth. Although we shouldn't expect to see Hurts go with the second-overall pick in 2020. The Bears are going to stand their ground on Trubisky, but they really should consider adding some competition to the quarterback room. Without it, Trubisky runs the risk of retaining the plateau he illustrated in 2019 in Chicago.
Hurts would push Trubisky while providing a skillset that would win within the same template like the one the team needs to implement for the third-year QB.
Colorado's Steven Montez
Ideal fit: Denver Broncos(?)
Steven Montez is the most difficult quarterback to pair. Why? His accuracy consistency leaves you wanting a bit more and his polish isn't quite at a level that inspires as a QB. Knowing that he's a prototypical build and possesses a big arm, let's pair him with the local team — where John Elway has a track record of coveting such qualities.
Michigan's Shea Patterson
Ideal fit: Detroit Lions
The Lions had at least established a connection with a Michigan quarterback who was a late-round prospect when they added Jake Rudock a few years ago. Rudock has since moved on and Detroit's current back-up situation is not great. The three quarterbacks on the roster are Matthew Stafford, David Blough and Kyle Sloter. Shea Patterson has enough wild unpredictability in his game to find some success as a back-up in the NFL if he aces his whiteboard sessions. Given he's had extensive time with the Lions this week, I'll bank on that connection and the regional proximity creating a marriage here.
Washington State's Anthony Gordon
Ideal fit: Cleveland Browns
The arm talent of Anthony Gordon is fun to see up close and in person, but he's in need of a complete overhaul in his footwork and throwing mechanics. He hasn't been coached up in pass drops and clearly looked like a fish out of water on that front this week. He'll be a developmental back-up and putting him behind Baker Mayfield (who quite frankly underwent that transformation throughout his college career at Oklahoma) to learn makes a lot of sense. Gordon has a similar level of creativity to his passing with arm slots and avoiding pass rushers. He would provide Cleveland with a long-term project to groom and pick up on nuances from Mayfield via osmosis.