2020 NFL Mock Draft: Chargers Third to Select a Quarterback
Jason B. Hirschhorn
With less than three weeks before the 2020 NFL Draft formally kicks off, a consensus has built regarding which player the Los Angeles Chargers have in mind with the No. 6 overall pick. After mock drafts collectively flirted with multiple signal-callers, top defensive prospects, and some talented offensive linemen, the majority see the team targeting one particular quarterback.
In the latest mock draft from CBS Sports, the Chargers pick up Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert.
Round 1 - Pick 6: Herbert is a guy the Chargers are rumored to like. I doubt he will start the season ahead of Tyrod Taylor, but they may believe they are selecting the future of the franchise right here.
In this mock, two quarterbacks went ahead of Herbert: LSU's Joe Burrow and Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa. While not an uncommon sight this offseason, Tagovailoa's stock has reportedly withered as teams question his ability to stay out of the training room. Still, at least in this draft projection, the Chargers land the third quarterback off the board.
The value of taking a quarterback at the top of the draft requires little explanation. The Chargers parted ways with longtime starter Philip Rivers this offseason and plan to head into the season with veteran Tyrod Taylor as the Week 1 replacement. But while Taylor provides some short-term stability -- head coach Anthony Lynn worked with him as an assistant with the Buffalo Bills several years ago -- the team still needs a player that can develop into a long-term solution behind center.
Though far from a refined prospect, Herbert has the potential to develop into that player. He offers the size (6-foot-6, 236 pounds), athleticism (91st percentile among quarterbacks by pSPARQ, according to Three Sigma Athlete), and arm talent that the Chargers' front office and coaching staff look for at the position. With some work, Herbert has the chance to run every part of Lynn's offense, including the pistol option and moving pocket portions of the playbook that rarely saw the light of day with Rivers at the helm.
Spending time behind Taylor would allow Herbert to develop at his own pace and come in at a later time. Taylor played the role of mentor for the Cleveland Browns two years ago, allowing Baker Mayfield to acclimate to the NFL before taking over as the starter in Week 4 of his rookie season. Whether Herbert can make such a quick jump remains uncertain, but the approach makes sense for him and the Chargers.
-- Jason B. Hirschhorn is an award-winning sports journalist and Pro Football Writers of America member. Follow him on Twitter: @by_JBH