Just because a team didn’t make a huge move this NFL Free Agency period, doesn’t necessarily mean that the path isn’t clear.
Rather, it just paints a clearer picture of what that team may want to do come the 2020 NFL Draft.
Take the Los Angeles Chargers, for example, who moved away from Philip Rivers, their franchise quarterback since 2004. The Chargers were a rumored destination for Tom Brady during free agency, but Brady chose Tampa Bay. That leaves Tyrod Taylor and rookie Easton Stick left on the roster with Taylor being the supposed starter this season.
The Chargers currently have the No. 6 pick in the upcoming NFL Draft. They are most definitely eyeing a quarterback with that selection.
Enter Justin Herbert.
ESPN’s Mel Kiper has Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert selected at No. 6 overall to the Los Angles Chargers.
The Chargers appear uninterested in the quarterbacks in the free-agent or trade market, with Tyrod Taylor slotted in as their Week 1 starter. But maybe they’re not interested in another veteran because they know they’re in a good position to draft Tagovailoa or Herbert, and they can give Taylor the job while grooming a quarterback of the future.
Based on their offseason additions (guard Trai Turner, offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga, defensive tackle Linval Joseph and cornerback Chris Harris Jr., among others), the Chargers think they can win now. Drafting the 6-foot-6 Herbert gives them the best chance to bridge their present with their future, similar to what the Chiefs did in 2017 when they drafted Patrick Mahomes. — Mel Kiper Jr.
The Kansas City Chiefs selected Patrick Mahomes No. 10 overall in the 2017 NFL Draft. The Chiefs traded then 11-year pro quarterback Alex Smith to the Washington Redskins to free up the starting role for the rookie Mahomes, who took over the offense in 2018.
The rest is history.
If the Chargers were walking down that same path, it is likely that the team selects their next franchise quarterback at No. 6. Could that be Herbert?
Kiper goes on to say what he likes about the kid from Eugene:
As I wrote last May, he just looks like a potential No. 1 pick — great size, a powerful arm to make every throw, limited interceptions, good athleticism. Yet, he took a step back in consistency in 2018, and that’s why I thought he made a good decision to return to Oregon for his senior season. -- Mel Kiper
The 2020 NFL Draft is still scheduled to begin on April 23.