Justin Herbert had a fantastic rookie season for the Los Angeles Chargers. In fact, it was a record-setting one.
Herbert posted rookie records in the following categories: Passing touchdowns (31), total touchdowns (36), completions (396), games with 300-plus passing yards (eight), and three-plus touchdowns (six). His earned accolades for his greatest performance, including the NFL's Offensive Rookie of the Year award.
Additionally, Herbert earned the respect of his teammates. That included his teammate, running back Austin Ekeler, who spoke about what impressed him about Herbert on Zach Brook's Upon Further Review podcast.
"It was great seeing his progression and I think it just shows the character of him as a person," Ekeler said. "He's a guy that really wants to come to the team. He wants to hang out with the guys, and I love that. He's not about himself."
What has stood out to Ekeler is Herbert's desire to win. In Ekeler's estimation, he has put a lot of pressure on himself to do well, and that's what led the former Oregon star to immediate success.
It's not just about Herbert's drive and desire to Ekeler either. Herbert progressed while Ekeler was sidelined with an injury. And when he returned, he could tell that Herbert had improved greatly in just two short months.
"And it was cool to see his development from the beginning when I was playing, then I got hurt and I came back and I saw the progression that he made in that time I was out, which was seven weeks, eight weeks," Ekeler said. "I look forward to being his backfield buddy, protecting him and catching some checkdowns this year."
Herbert should only get better as he gets further into his career. The Chargers will likely improve their blocking in the 2021 NFL Draft and getting playmakers like Ekeler back and healthy will go a long way toward bolstering the squad around him.
Either way, it seems like the former Duck is on his way to NFL stardom, at least in the eyes of Ekeler.