Oregon QB Justin Herbert Wins Senior Bowl Practice Award and Game MVP
Jason B. Hirschhorn
MOBILE, Ala. -- Though the draft process has only just begun, Justin Herbert has already buoyed his stock. At the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, the Oregon quarterback won both the Practice Player of the Week honors as well as the game's MVP award.
Herbert, who completed nine of his 12 passes for 83 yards and a touchdown, looked as impressive as any quarterback in Mobile throughout the week. Utah State's Jordan Love also drew positive comments but did not look as consistently impressive as Herbert, who pushed the South team to a seven-point lead during his turn running the offense. Herbert's throws looked crisp as he completed his first seven attempts.
Herbert's exploits garnered plenty of attention from NFL talent evaluators, including Los Angeles Chargers general manager Tom Telesco. Telesco discussed the value he places on quarterbacks participating in the Senior Bowl earlier this week, saying, "The all-star game is great, and it's great to see guys want to come and compete and play no matter where you think you may be drafted to come compete."
A strong showing during a collegiate all-star game and the accompanying practices won't quiet all the criticisms of Herbert's game, but it does provide some positive momentum for his draft stock as the NFL Scouting Combine approaches. Herbert's accuracy and consistently remains major concerns that the Chargers and other potentially interested teams must further investigate, but the past week in Mobile highlighted his strengths as a quarterback and athlete. Given how the Chargers' coaching staff handled Tyrod Taylor, an athletic signal-caller in his own right, during his limited action this past season, it stands to reason the team could find a way to showcase Herbert's positive traits.
While it remains unclear exactly how NFL teams see Herbert, his collegiate career and week in Mobile have impressed draft analysts in the media. Herbert landed on the Chargers in the most recent mock drafts released by Sports Illustrated and ESPN.
-- Jason B. Hirschhorn is an award-winning sports journalist and Pro Football Writers of America member. Follow him on Twitter: @by_JBH