One of college football’s best quarterback prospects is staying on campus for another season:
— Oregon Football (@oregonfootball) December 26, 2018
Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert announced he will return for his senior season and not enter the 2019 NFL Draft.
Considering Herbert’s place among the best quarterbacks in college football, his decision not to forgo his senior season for the draft is a surprise to some. Herbert has long been viewed as one of (if not) the best quarterbacks this draft class has to offer. He has thrown for 2,985 yards, 28 touchdowns, and just eight interceptions. If you were to punch in his college numbers into the NFL’s calculation of quarterback rating, they would come out to an encouraging 101.4 rating. With that as our backdrop, you can see why NFL teams would be disappointed in his decision not to enter the draft.
Then again, some things are more important than NFL money to some folks. For example, Herbert will get to play with his younger brother Patrick Herbert, a four-star tight end who signed to play his college ball at Oregon. I don’t have a brother, but I can imagine it would be fun slinging the pigskin around with a sibling en route to a Pac-12 title and possibly more. And if Herbert stacks another solid season as a senior, his draft status will remain mostly unchanged.
Herbert’s decision doesn’t directly impact the Bears, but it has a wide-ranging ripple-effect throughout the NFL. Teams projected to pick in the top-10 with potential long-term quarterback needs such as the Raiders, Buccaneers, Giants, and Jaguars have one fewer candidate to choose from on draft day. And teams with quarterback security (Cardinals, 49ers, Jets, Lions, Bills) won’t likely have as much interest in teams willing to give up a big haul in draft capital in order to move up in the draft to snag a quarterback.
As we saw last year, a run on quarterbacks in the first round allowed some solid non-quarterback position-player prospects fall in the draft. Taking that into consideration, Herbert’s decision could indirectly impact the direction of 2019 Bears opponents with high draft choices such as the Raiders (4th), Lions (5th), Giants (8th), Broncos (12th), and Packers (14th).
The Bears don’t have a pick until the third round in 2019, but we’ll continue to keep tabs on what’s going on in that part of the football world – especially when it could have an effect on what happens with Chicago’s biggest rivals and 2019 opponents.