Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller posted his top 10 NFL Draft prospects for the 2020 class. Ducks QB Justin Herbert made the list. That’s not the most interesting part as Herbert was projected to go in the top five of the 2019 draft had he declared as a junior. There are rumors regarding Herbert’s personality according to Miller’s sources.
Here’s the full quote:
“Herbert chose college, which is his right, but in doing so he may have opened himself up to questions from evaluators. Even before Herbert announced he would stay in school for his senior season, rumors had been stirring in the scouting community about his personality, which was often described as “weird.” Herbert isn’t a bad person—no one said that—but as one evaluator told me: “He’s just kind of soft and aloof. Another year will hopefully toughen him up.”
That’s a lot to unpack to say the least. Keep in mind, that these type of questions will continue to loom as the season goes on as more and more “anonymous” sources will come out of the woodwork to detract key elements of a prospect. The 2020 offseason will likely be an arduous one for one Justin Herbert as he navigates his way to the National Football League.
It is universally agreed that Herbert isn’t the most vocal of leaders for the Ducks program like Marcus Mariota was during his time in Eugene. While he is the face of the Oregon franchise and generally well liked among his peers on the team, he does need to improve on some things.
He’s more reserved in his leadership style and outsiders will often perceive that as being meek and not in charge. Herbert needs to display more emotion on the sidelines like a Tom Brady / Baker Mayfield does from time to time. His on field persona just doesn’t have that “I’m the commander and don’t you forget it” vibe (which is a good thing for the most part). His senior season needs to be more about displaying that personality trait, given the mediocre offensive results of the 2018 season. I’m not saying that he should blatantly disrespect the coaching staff but have more of an active “presence” when shaping the gameplan for any given week.
The mental makeup of the team was often a question last season, given the team’s inability to put together any consistency during road games. As the leader (QB) goes, so does the team. Far too often we saw the Ducks listless and in need of a motivation. I’m not sure Herbert is that type of guy to fire up a team in such a manner, given his personality.
Being a widely respected leader in college is one thing, it’s an entirely different matter at the next level given the amount of money that’s on the line on a weekly basis as Marcus Mariota has found out. Sure, Herbert can win over a college locker room but how about a locker room full of alpha older men with higher income levels and more experience than he?
I do have some hope for Herbert on the mental side as Coach Cristobal is certainly an emotive and vivacious personality. He can lean on that and learn from it. Physically, he’s ready for the league. Mentally on and off the field, he needs some development and that only comes with more experience.
It’s a long road until April 2020 in Las Vegas when we all find out Justin Herbert’s pro destination. Let’s all hope that his senior season is one worthy of a future hall of fame career.