2020 NFL Mock Draft: Chargers Still Linked to Justin Herbert
Jason B. Hirschhorn
Even as the prospect of the Los Angeles Chargers signing Tom Brady gains momentum, the team still has other options to consider at the quarterback position. One such option, Oregon's Justin Herbert, continues to end up connected to the Chargers in mock drafts like SB Nation's latest projection.
6. Los Angeles Chargers: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
Barring a free agent signing, the Chargers definitely need Herbert in the first round this year. If they do, the rest of their offseason plan has to involve improving a porous offensive line.
As in many recent mock drafts, LSU's Joe Burrow and Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa came off the board prior to the Chargers' pick at No. 6. While that makes Herbert the third player at his position selected, he arguably makes the most sense for Los Angeles among the rookie options. Herbert possesses the best mobility of any of the top collegiate signal-callers and has the arm strength and ball placement to make difficult throws down the field, both skills desired by Anthony Lynn and his coaching staff.
And while Herbert requires more fine-tuning than the others, the Chargers do not have to force him onto the field immediately. Tyrod Taylor, added as a free agent last offseason, remains under contract and can serve as a bridge starter while the rookie learns the ropes. The Kansas City Chiefs took a similar with Patrick Mahomes, sitting him virtually his entire first season behind veteran Alex Smith before making the switch in 2018.
On some level, Herbert would represent a deviation from how the Chargers normally operate. The team has drafted just three quarterbacks since acquiring Philip Rivers in 2004, and none of those selections happened before the third round. However, with Rivers moving on from Los Angeles this offseason and the roster currently devoid of a long-term replacement, spending an early pick on Herbert or another signal-caller with upside hardly seems outlandish.
-- Jason B. Hirschhorn is an award-winning sports journalist and Pro Football Writers of America member. Follow him on Twitter: @by_JBH