The Los Angeles Chargers drafted Justin Herbert with the 6th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
The Chargers had ended Philip Rivers’ 224 consecutive starts and were decided on moving on from the 38-year old 2013 Comeback Player of the Year winner. With the huge void at the QB position, Los Angeles made Oregon’s Herbert the 3rd quarterback taken in the 2020 NFL draft after top pick Joe Burrow of the Cincinnati Bengals and #5 selection Tua Tagovailoa of the Miami Dolphins.
Herbert was the first true freshman to start for the Oregon Ducks since Chris Miller in 1983. He started the final seven games of Oregon’s dismal 4-8 2016 season and threw for a total of 1,936 passing yards with 19 touchdowns and four interceptions. Herbert led the Ducks to a 4-1 record during his sophomore season before suffering a collarbone injury. He returned to play for the team’s final three games and he amassed a total of 1,983 yards with 15 touchdowns and five interceptions in 2017. He started 27 consecutive games during his junior and senior seasons to finish his college career with a total of 10,541 passing yards with 95 touchdowns and 23 interceptions. He also rushed for 560 yards with 13 scores in a total of 43 collegiate games played.
The oddsmakers have already come up with Herbert’s 2020 NFL season rookie betting props. Let’s take a look at them one by one and make our predictions:
*Betting Odds from BetOnline as of 05/24/2020
Justin Herbert Total Passing Yards
- Over/Under Odds: Over 3400 (-120) | Under 3400 (-120)
Justin Herbert’s total passing yards here may be too high for a rookie signal-caller. It can be recalled that only eight rookie quarterbacks have passed over 3,400 yards in the last decade. Last year’s top rookie quarterback Kyler Murray of the Arizona Cardinals passed for a total of 3,722 yards and won 2019 NFL Rookie of the Year. The year before, Cleveland Browns’ Baker Mayfield threw for 3,725 during his freshman NFL campaign. Here are the rookie NFL quarterbacks who have topped 3,400 yards in the last 10 years:
- 2019 Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals 3,722 yards
- 2018 Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns 3,725 yards
- 2016 Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles 3,782 yards
- 2016 Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys 3,667 yards
- 2015 Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 4,042 yards
- 2012 Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts 4,374 yards
- 2011 Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers 4,051 yards
- 2010 Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams 3,512
That’s an elite group but even then, I think Herbert is at the same level and can produce the same numbers, if he is given the opportunity to start. However, Tyrod Taylor currently ranks first in the Chargers’ depth chart. Bovada has Herbert as a -370 not to start for the Chargers in Week 1. Having said that, the first argument against this total is that there is no guarantee that Herbert will start enough games to hit the total.
Herbert’s 3,400 total is in between Joe Burrow’s 3,800 and Tua Tagovailoa’s 3,200-yard prop bets for passing yards. Burrow is expected to be the week one starter for the Bengals while it’s uncertain if Tagovailoa will start over Ryan Fitzpatrick. I think Justin Herbert sits on the same boat as Tua although if there’s going to be a change, it’s most likely going to be Herbert over Taylor rather than Tua over Fitzpatrick.
If Herbert does get the nod over Taylor, then he will have a good chance of eclipsing the 3,400 mark. Wide receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams each topped the 1,000 receiving yards mark and combined for a total of 2,200 receiving yards last season. Running back Austin Ekeler also caught 93 passes for 993 yards while tight end Hunter Henry can be a 1000-yard receiver.
The training camp battle between Herbert and Taylor should be an interesting one. However, Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn is pretty high on Taylor and said this last April, via NBC Sports:
“We’re going into this thing: Day 1, Tyrod Taylor’s going to be starting it off,” Lynn said. “He’s earned that right. His teammates respect the hell out of him, he’s a leader on this football team. Our young quarterback’s gonna learn a lot from Tyrod Taylor. Tyrod Taylor’s one of the most respected players on our team, and he doesn’t say a whole lot either. . . . [But] it’s a competition, bro. There’s a competition at every position, not just this one. I can’t just say Tyrod’s gonna be the starting quarterback for the whole year if this young man goes in there and wins the job.”
I’m pretty sure that Herbert is going to win that starting job during the season. However, I’m not sure when he’s going to win it, and if he’s going to get enough starts to beat the 3,400 total. I’ll be conservative here.
Prediction: Under 3,400 yards (-120)
Justin Herbert Total Passing Touchdowns
- Over/Under Odds: Over 21 (-120) | Under 21 (-120)
The New York Giants’ Daniel Jones was the only rookie to throw more than 21 touchdowns with a total of 24 last season in 2019. Last year’s Rookie of the Year Kyler Murray had a total of 20 passing touchdowns last season. The Chargers have plenty of weapons on the team but Philip Rivers only threw a total of 23 touchdowns last season. With Herbert still going to earn his minutes on the team, I think he is going to fall short of this total.
Prediction: Under 21 (-120)
Justin Herbert Total Interceptions
- Over/Under Odds: Over 17.5 (-120) | Under 17.5 (-120)
There has only been one rookie quarterback since 2017 to throw more than 17.5 interceptions during his maiden NFL season and that was DeShone Kizer with 22 for the Cleveland Browns in 2017. Last season, only three quarterbacks threw more than 17 touchdowns. But all three played in 16 games last season. Interestingly Chargers’ 2019 quarterback Philip Rivers was one of those with 20. But given that Herbert isn’t guaranteed to start every game in the 2020 season, I like the under here.
Prediction: Under 17.5 (-120)