When it comes to quarterbacks in the 2020 NFL Draft, Joe Burrow clearly stands above the rest as the presumptive No. 1 overall pick. But who will be the second passer selected?
Alabama product Tua Tagovailoa could theoretically go as early as No. 2 to the Redskins, but there are red flags about his health and the coronavirus pandemic is hurting his stock since teams can’t see him on the field. That’s allowed Oregon graduate Justin Herbert to rise up draft boards and he’s reportedly ranked ahead of Tua by some front offices.
Herbert scouting report
The 6-foot-6, 235-pounder earned 2019 Academic All-American of the Year honors on top of completing 66.8% of his passes for 3,471 yards and 32 TDs as a senior. His ability to make plays with his legs (560 rushing yards and 13 TDs in college) has earned him comparisons to Josh Allen, but clearly, his football IQ is higher. Carson Wentz is another NFL comp since Herbert has a similar ability to climb the pocket and deliver deep throws with a rocket arm.
The biggest knock on Herbert is his leadership. While Tua has a commanding presence that is required to lead an NFL huddle, Herbert seems more reserved. Combine his demure attitude with a somewhat mechanical approach as a passer, and Herbert seems to have a much lower risk and reward factor than Tua.
How to bet on Herbert
Most sportsbooks have set Herbert’s draft position prop at 5.5 with odds around +180 that he goes fifth or higher. If the Redskins gamble on Tua at No. 2, there is a real possibility the Dolphins default to Herbert, which makes a correlation bet on Tua at No. 2 (+1000 at DraftKings Sportsbook) worth a look. Herbert makes sense for the Dolphins with Ryan Fitzpatrick likely playing a bridge year and plenty of young talent on the roster. Yet there is a real possibility Miami trades out of the No. 5 spot if Tua is off the board, allowing another eager team to move up and snare Herbert. Note that Tua (-500 at BetMGM) is well ahead of Herbert (+250) in the market to become the second QB drafted.
There are two other teams right behind Miami that have been linked to Herbert in the Panthers (No. 7) and Chargers (No. 6). The market for the Chargers to take Herbert hovers around +160 at most books, but odds fluctuate widely for the Panthers. Carolina seems far more likely to take a potential franchise QB with a new HC (Matt Rhule) and no stability at the position. The Chargers seem excited to give the keys to Tyrod Taylor and have a pressing need at LT in a draft class with tons of OL talent.
With Panthers GM Marty Hurney spotted at Herbert’s Pro Day, it’s worth considering a bet on Carolina to draft him where there is value. The Panthers odds are +450 at FoxBet to take Herbert, but drop down to +700 at FanDuel Sportsbook and all the way to +1200 at DraftKings. That may be because DK oddsmakers expect the Panthers to draft for defense (-278). So you could consider parlaying the Panthers to take offense (+220) with a bet on Herbert (+1200) for maximum return.
There are teams outside the top 10 that could make a strong push for Herbert by trading up, or hope for him to fall into their laps. The Raiders (No. 12) have interviewed Herbert over video chat and the Colts (No. 13) have been linked to the young QB, who could potentially learn the ropes from 37-year-old Philip Rivers, who is on a one-year deal. Does Raiders HC and famous QB whisperer Jon Gruden believe he can light a fire under Herbert and get the most out of his talent? That’s a real possibility, so making a small wager on the Raiders (+1200 at DK) could be a savvy move given Gruden’s confidence and past criticism of Derek Carr. The Colts are at an absurd +4000 to draft Herbert at DK Sportsbook, compared to +700 at FanDuel, giving bettors huge value on that site.
Longshots to take Herbert include the Jaguars and Broncos, but both teams seem to have found their QBs of the future in Gardner Minshew and Drew Lock. DraftKings gives the Patriots (+800) a decent shot to take Herbert if they decide to trade up from No. 23, but Bill Belichick and company never seem to do the expected and might instead covet Jordan Love or Jacob Eason later in the draft.