With the long expected news dropping Monday afternoon that Tua Tagovailoa (thanks forever, Mark Helfrich) would forgo his senior season and declare for the draft, the hierarchy of the quarterback class has been set for now. Things can change with performances in the Senior Bowl, the Combine, Free Agency before the draft even starts. Clearly, the Bengals are taking hometown Heisman winner Joe Burrow with the first pick overall. Who goes where after him in his position group?
With that said, which teams are the likely destinations for Oregon QB Justin Herbert?
5. Miami Dolphins
- Everyone and I mean EVERYONE has Miami selecting Tua with the fifth overall selection but what if his medicals come back less than desirable? There’s a chance that Herbert jumps him and becomes the second quarterback taken due to this. I love the fact that Miami fought hard under rising sophomore head coach Brian Flores and got to five wins with a bare bones roster. They have the ammunition to do whatever they want as they have three first round picks to play with. Herbert may not have much protection from his OL to start with but Miami can rectify that quickly with their draft capital. Herbert would probably sit and learn under veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick (aka Fitzmagic) initially before being thrown into the fire.
6. Los Angeles Chargers
- Longtime stalwart and future Hall of Fame quarterback Philip Rivers may end his tenure with the Chargers as he might retire or leave via free agency. Herbert wouldn’t have to sit if Rivers leaves and he would have plenty of weapons around him such as RB Melvin Gordon, WR Keenan Allen, WR Mike Williams and TE Hunter Henry to ease the pro transition. He also gets to stay on the west coast where he seems more comfortable. The Chargers are the “Clippers” aka junior partner of the new Inglewood stadium with the Rams. They have a solid defense so Herbert wouldn’t have to win every game on his own.
7. Carolina Panthers
- To call the Panthers’ QB situation “less than ideal” is a charitable way to put it. The Panthers struggled mightily with and without the services of Cam Newton and as a result, head coach Ron Rivera was relieved of his duties this season (he has since taken over the Washington Racist Names). If Cam is healthy, this wouldn’t be a landing spot for Herbert but he hasn’t shown that in quite a few years. Newton has shown signs of the wear and tear that his playing style has brought on the past couple of seasons. The Panthers’ backup situation is dire to say the least. Also, new head coach, new QB scenario applies here as Matt Rhule has no ties to Newton so he may want to get his own guy in. Herbert would have a solid set of weapons in RB Christian McCaffery, WR Curtis Samuel, WR D.J. Moore and veteran TE Greg Olsen.
12. Oakland Raiders
- Herbert gets to reunite with Marcus Arroyo, after all! OK, not really but they will be cashing checks in the same city. The Raiders may choose to move on from incumbent starter Derek Carr after several middling seasons from him. The team has a solid set of skill players like RB Josh Jacobs, TE Darren Waller and receivers Tyrell Williams, Hunter Renfrow, Keelan Doss plus a young defense to build on. There wouldn’t be any personality adjustments between head coaches either as Jon Gruden is similar to Mario Cristobal in that they are both passionate about their craft. The Raiders have a new Death Star facility opening up this coming season.
13. Indianapolis Colts
- The Colts have had an Andrew Luck sized hole on their roster since he shockingly retired before the season started. Jacoby Brissett tried his best but it’s obvious that he isn’t the long term answer. Herbert would step right into the one of the better younger rosters in the league right now. GM Chris Ballard is pretty good at his job. Plus he can torment the Titans for ruining Marcus Mariota twice a year.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Go look up head coach Bruce Arians’ comments after the final game of the season and get back to me. He was scathing and brutally honest about Mr. 30-30 Jameis Winston. It’s not likely Winston is brought back after playing out his fifth year option. The Buccaneers would present the most ideal situation of these options, skill player wise as they have Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Ronald Jones, and OJ Howard. Also Arians is known as a taskmaster and QB whisperer alongside rising star OC Byron Leftwich (yes that Leftwich who retired not that long ago).
Maybe (if you think about it)
3. Detroit Lions
- The Lions severely missed their veteran star QB Matt Stafford this season as he dealt with numerous injuries. The front office may call time on Stafford’s career in Detroit as he is breaking down physically and back injuries can flare up at any given time. The Lions do have some great skill players at their disposal such as RB Kerryon Johnson and WRs Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay on top of a stout offensive line.
16. Atlanta Falcons
- As veteran Matt Ryan progresses further and further into the twilight of his distinguished career, the calls for a heir apparent will get louder. There isn’t any on the current roster right now. Herbert in this current iteration of the Falcons offense would be lethal. However, this is an unlikely scenario as the Falcons have more pressing needs elsewhere and are capped out due to some large contracts. Fun to dream about though.
2. Washington (censored)
- They’re not giving up on Dwayne Haskins after just one year even if they have a new front office and head coach. The Dan Snyder Factor can’t rule it though however improbable it may seem.
4. New York Giants
- Unless the Giants plan on firing GM Dave Gettleman anytime soon, this is a no. He loves Daniel Jones and will be stuck with him for another couple of years at least.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars
- Siri, how much is Nick Foles making for being Nick Foles? Also Minshew Mania has struck hold in the Jorts Capital of the World.
15. Denver Broncos
- John Elway likes to draft Tall White Guys i.e. mirror image of himself but Drew Lock showed enough to merit another look as the long term starter in the Mile High City.
17. Dallas Cowboys
- They could be in the market if the negotiations with Dak Prescott fall through but you can take it to the bank that Prescott will be a Cowboy for the forseeable future. Also, they no longer have the world’s most frequent clapper, Jason Garrett so Herbert can’t refine his sideline clapping technique. Cool for Cowboys fans to think about though with that high powered offense.
23. New England Patriots
- It’s been well documented that one Thomas Brady is an impending free agent and his future with the dynastic New England Patriots is in serious doubt for the first time ever. The Patriots will need a quarterback of the future regardless of Brady’s status. As they are traditionally wont to do, Bill Belicheck has amassed a king’s ransom of draft picks to move up and down with. The team did draft Jarrett Stidham last year as a supposed heir to the throne but being Brady’s heir is a tough ask. That duty has gotten to be Brett Farveian in nature i.e. the heir apparent might not last long due to Brady’s insistence that he play until he deems himself ready to retire. Belicheck may want to get his own man so to speak, who better than Herbert?
24. New Orleans Saints
- The future Hall of Fame QB and New Orleans icon Drew Brees is not only advancing in the record books but in age as well. The Saints do have gadget player Taysom Hill but he isn’t a viable contender to the throne. They also have Teddy Bridgewater as an option but it remains to be seen what they do with him. Herbert with a brilliant mind such as Sean Payton would be a perfect marriage. Not to mention the skill position talent that the Saints have amassed on top of a great defense. The front office has shown to be bold on draft day, moving up to snag a yet to blossom DE Marcus Davenport when everyone thought the move up was for soon to be named MVP Lamar Jackson. Do they move up once more to get their Brees heir in Herbert?