Herbert or Young? One redraft has Washington taking Herbert originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
Coming out of Oregon, Justin Herbert was originally going to be the backup for the Chargers behind Tyrod Taylor after Herbert was selected with the sixth overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
But after Taylor went down, Herbert went on to set league rookie records for touchdowns (31) and most consecutive games having thrown over 300 yards (eight). He also was in the top-10 for passing TDs (31), passing yards (4,336) and completions (396), Herbert proved he can be a franchise quarterback moving forward in the post-Phillip Rivers era for the Chargers.
Herbert displayed such good things at the QB position during the 2020-21 season that one analyst would have selected him with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, ahead of Washington’s original choice of defensive end Chase Young. The analyst: ESPN’s Washington Football Team reporter John Keim, who wrote as much for an ESPN+ redraft of last year’s draft.
“This is painful because Young will be a star and is everything you want in a player,” Keim wrote. “But Herbert threw 31 touchdown passes and only 10 picks — and the talent around him wasn’t that great while the competition was. Young will be great for a long time, but you can’t pass up a franchise QB.”
Herbert’s debut NFL campaign proved he can ball with the best of them. Those rookie records and top-10 stats show just that, as he had more completions against Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes and more yards than Aaron Rodgers. Those are two bonified MVP candidates and Herbert showed his arm is already at another level just like them.
Finishing 7-9 on the year, Herbert helped the Chargers beat pretty much everyone they were supposed to while dealing with a challenging schedule against the likes of Kansas City, New Orleans, and even suffered a whomping 45-0 loss to the Patriots.
Young, on the other hand, made the Pro Bowl and was the Pro Football Writer’s Defensive Rookie of the Year. Still, the PFWA, who is less recognized for their awards compared to AP, also awarded Herbert as both Offensive Rookie of the Year and overall Rookie of the Year.
With Herbert going second overall, the ESPN+ redraft has Young going to Detroit, who had the third pick. The Lions originally took cornerback Jeff Okudah, who underwent season-ending surgery to repair his calf after Week 14 when Detroit was out of playoff contention at 5-8.
Thankfully for Young, he’s in a much worse division with the NFC East and his impact on the defensive end helped the Burgundy and Gold win it and make the playoffs. But after the Rams paid a big price to land 33-year-old Matthew Stafford, franchise QBs are certainly hard to get.