SAN FRANCISCO -- University of Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert hasn’t declared for the NFL Draft. He’s certainly eligible, and even the prospect of him turning pro has pro scouts salivating.
Herbert might do so after the Dec. 31 Redbox Bowl between Oregon and Michigan State at Levi’s Stadium. Right now, we aren’t quite sure.
There’s also a solid chance he'll go back to school.
One thing stands for certain: NFL scouts love this kid.
Herbert has everything you want as an NFL quarterback. He stands 6-foot-6 and weighs 236 pounds, a Ben Roethilsberger type who can make all the throws. His college numbers, in no uncertain terms, are explosive.
He has 2,985 passing yards, 28 touchdowns and just eight interceptions in this year alone.
Oregon coach Mario Cristobal has a good one on his hands, and he knows it.
Those qualities will be attractive to Raiders coach Jon Gruden, though it remains uncertain whether or not he sticks with Derek Carr. Doing so would eliminate the drama from taking Herbert, or any quarterback for that matter.
Carr is expected to be the Raiders' quarterback next year, though Gruden is inherently unpredictable.
We can say, after talking with Cristobal on Thursday, that Herbert is ready for the media onslaught. He's poised to decide whether or not he declares or whether or not he becomes the face of somebody’s franchise.
"It’s part of his personality, but you really have to tune out the noise,” Cristobal said. “That’s part of it. We talk to our guys about outside noise, and we say it’s not there at 5 a.m. when they’re working out. It’s not there when they’re getting treatment at all hours.
"The noise should never factor into anything. At the same time, you have to understand that he has gotten to this point because of his hard work and dedication."
Herbert can handle it. And that’s a good sign for those under tremendous scrutiny in these parts.
"Justin will tell you the same thing," Cristobal continued. "He’s just scratching the surface."