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2020 NFL Draft: Can the Los Angeles Chargers unlock the NFL quarterback within Justin Herbert?

Will history repeat itself for Tyrod Taylor? The now journeyman quarterback looked to be the presumed starter for the Los Angeles Chargers after Philip Rivers left in free agency. After the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft on Thursday night, former Oregon Duck Justin Herbert is now a part of the Bolts' quarterback room and the situation for Tyrod is murky again.

[Editor’s note: Check out PFF’s 2020 Mock Draft HubNFL Draft Big Board and NFL Mock Draft Simulator. PFF Elite subscribers can also download the 1,250-page 2020 NFL Draft Guide. For extensive coverage of the 2020 NFL Draft, check out all of PFF's 2020 NFL Draft coverage in one place.]

Taylor was the Cleveland Browns‘ starter in 2018, even after the team used the first overall pick on Baker Mayfield, but he lasted just two and a half games before a mid-game switch at the position against the New York Jets ignited Mayfield's reign in Cleveland. The situation Taylor finds himself in now has some parallels to his time on Lake Erie.

Like Taylor found out first in Buffalo and then in Cleveland, his style of play does not inspire confidence from a fan base. He’s too conservative of a quarterback to really move the needle forward. Taylor topped out with a 74.3 passing grade on dropback passes in 2016 with only 13 big-time throws to nine turnover-worthy plays. His grade dropped to 67.9 and then 46.0 in the two subsequent seasons. A career ratio of 51 big-time throws to 40 turnover-worthy plays is not comforting — and for a team looking to excite a new market, it just might not be enough.

In comes Justin Herbert, the big-armed quarterback and former Academic All-American taken at pick No. 6. The good news for Taylor, and maybe bad news for the Chargers, is that he’s not Baker Mayfield, who finished his senior season with a 95.0 grade on dropback passes. Herbert, after a sparkling sophomore year, petered out and disappointed as a senior with an 83.8 grade.

Herbert possesses the tools, and you can see glimpses of an NFL quarterback hidden away, but the improvements from his time at Oregon need to be stark.


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