A NFL career awaits Oregon's ultra-talented junior quarterback Justin Herbert. The question is, how long will that career have to wait?
The 6-foot-6, 240-pound junior with the powerful right arm and sneaky fast wheels is already being talked about as a potential top target for NFL teams wallowing at or near the bottom of the league and in need of a quarterback.
The New York Giants (1-6), Oakland Raiders (1-6), Arizona Cardinals (1-6), Denver Broncos (3-4) and the Jacksonville Jaguars (3-4) appear to be the teams that most likely could be in the market for a new quarterback and in a position to pounce on Herbert at some point in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft.
The Raiders, of course, would only be interested if coach Jon Gruden decides to move on from Derek Carr. And why wouldn't he? The Raiders have already dealt away two of their best players from the past few years, linebacker Khalil Mack and wide receiver Amari Cooper. Gruden has a 10-year deal that affords him the opportunity to take his time rebuilding the roster to his liking.
Carr, quite productive in his first four seasons, is having his worst year under Gruden. Some reports indicate that the Raiders have soured on Carr. However, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport has reported that Carr will not be dealt. Gruden has been notoriously hard on young quarterbacks so it makes more sense that he would stick with Carr rather that start over with a rookie.
In the end, none of the above could matter in regards to Herbert. Justin Herbert fits the profile of one that would return to college despite being projected to be a first-round pick. Just like Stanford's Andrew Luck did in 2011, and Oregon's Marcus Mariota in 2014, Herbert could very well decide that the NFL can wait for his services.