Oregon Ducks

With NFL Scouts in the house, Justin Herbert shows why he is the "best quarterback in college football"

With NFL Scouts in the house, Justin Herbert shows why he is the "best quarterback in college football"

Quarterback Justin Herbert gave the people the show that they’ve longed for.

With an astounding amount of NFL scouts present, Herbert provided highlights that won’t soon be forgotten by Oregon fans, Colorado’s defense or the professional teams with a top-10 draft selection.

No. 13 Oregon’s offense exploded to thump Colorado 45-3 on a chilly Friday night game in Autzen Stadium. The chills weren’t caused from the wind, but instead from thrilling throws from the 6-foot-6 240-pound passer with deadly arm.

“The offense was scoring so fast, we would sit down to try to drink some water and the offense had already scored,” junior safety Brady Breeze said. “It’s amazing to see.”

Herbert made it look easy to his leading receiver, senior tight end Jacob Breeland. On the first drive, Herbert connected with Breeland for a seven-yard touchdown to give the Ducks (5-1, 3-0 Pac-12) a quick lead. The touchdown extended Herbert’s nation leading touchdown pass streak to 34 straight games. It also marked Breeland’s sixth touchdown of the season, first among tight ends.

RELATED: [Breeland was off to a hot start before suffering an game-ending injury in the first quarter]

Junior wide receiver Jaylon Redd may need to ice his hands after Herbert’s 13 yard touchdown bullet in the third quarter. Redd's diving touchdown grab was his second touchdown of the game and marked his fifth straight game with a receiving touchdown, the longest streak in the country.

“It’s sensational,” said Redd describing catching passes from Herbert.

“Herbert is the best quarterback in college football right now, so anytime I get an opportunity I’m doing whatever I can to please him.”

Then there was the multiple highlights between Herbert and freshman phenom Mycah Pittman. Oregon Coach Mario Cristobal decided to go for it on fourth and five, and the Ducks converted the first down with a crossing route to Pittman, moving the chains and sparking the offense.

The duo shined again to set up a last second touchdown before the half came to a close. Herbert let it fly to Pittman for a 39-yard reception to put the Ducks in the red zone.

He finished 18-32 for 261 yards and two touchdowns. Yes, Herbert’s stunning passes were against a Colorado pass defense that entered the game ranked 124th in the nation.

But, they could have played down to their opponent. They didn’t and the Duck offense gained rhythm and confidence as they enter the toughest part of their schedule. Herbert showed up in the spotlight and now he must shine the rest of the way for Oregon to stay atop the North Division through tougher opponents.

Instant Analysis: No. 3 Oregon clinches Pac-12 title with win over Washington State

Instant Analysis: No. 3 Oregon clinches Pac-12 title with win over Washington State

Back-to-back-to-back.

For the third consecutive season, the Oregon Ducks women's basketball team is Pac-12 conference champions.

After a dominating win over Washington State (11-18, 4-13 Pac-12), the Ducks ( (27-2, 16-1 Pac-12) lead by Ruthy Hebard's 54th career double-double, can celebrate as champions once again and have officially clinched the No. 1 seed in the upcoming Pac-12 tournament. 

FINAL SCORE: Washington State 57, Oregon 88

Here are three quick takeaways from the game:

QUICK, EFFICIENT START
Oregon jumped out to a quick 13-0 lead, shooting over 80% from the field. The floor general behind it was Sabrina Ionescu who dished out eight assists in the first five minutes alone. She finished the first quarter with 10 assists.Oregon’s offense isn’t deadly when it’s flowing that efficiently.

RUTHY HEBARD
The 6-foot-4 senior forward took advantage over WSU’s smaller forwards all night. As the Cougars fronted her on the defensive end, the ducks had easy over the top passes that lead to lay-ins.Hebard recorded her 54th career double-double with 28 points and 14 rebounds.

THANK YOU SABRINA
Following the game, the Ducks celebrated Sabrina Ionescu making history earlier this week, becoming the first player in NCAA history to reach 2,000 points, 1,000 assists and 1,000 rebounds.

UP NEXT: The Ducks finish up Pac-12 regular season conference play by hosting the Washington Huskies (13-15, 5-12 Pac-12) on Sunday afternoon at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, Oregon. This is also senior day for seniors Sabrina Ionescu, Ruthy Hebard, Minyon Moore and junior Satou Sabally (who is forgoing her senior year and has declared for the 2020 WNBA Draft).

For the third consecutive year, the Oregon Ducks take the throne as Pac-12 champs

For the third consecutive year, the Oregon Ducks take the throne as Pac-12 champs

Back-to-back-to-back.

For the third consecutive year, the Oregon Ducks are the Pac-12 conference champions.

This is no easy feat in the Pac-12 conference where on any given night, any team can beat any team. For example, last weekend featured three upsets over ranked opponents. Friday night was another upset, except this one affected the Ducks. No. 4 Stanford lost 73-72 in overtime to No. 13 Arizona on Tucson.

This upset sealed the deal for the Ducks.

This remarkable season capped with another conference title started with a perfect 13-0 record at home and 15-1 Pac-12 conference record. Oregon's only conference loss came at Arizona State on January 10, their first conference road trip. This was a season in the making. It started with Kelly Graves getting hired as Oregon's head coach on April 7, 2014. He has established and re-built this program into something truly special. Then it was bringing in game-changers like Maite Cazorla, Sabrina Ionescu, Ruthy Hebard and Satou Sabally amongst others to carry the program over from one year to the next. An exponentional increase year after year.

And now the Ducks just dominate. And it's fun to watch.

Troy Dye asked about failed drug tests... he doesn't have any

Troy Dye asked about failed drug tests... he doesn't have any

The NFL Combine is a crucial time for former college athletes dreaming of playing at the next level, but sometimes character concerns are brought up in the interview process.

That's what happened to Oregon Ducks linebacker Troy Dye, who was accused of failing a drug test while at the University of Oregon. Although, that failed drug test apparently never happened. 

A reporter asked the former Oregon linebacker how he would approach maturity concerns when addressing "a couple of drug tests" in his career. 

"They say you failed a marijuana test early in your career," the reporter said during Dye's media availability, referencing information found on NFL.com 

Dye was as confused as anyone.

I've never failed a drug test. I don't think I've ever really been drug tested for street or anything like that. I've been (tested) for performance enhancing, but my body doesn't really show that I'm on performance-enhancing drugs, by any means.

The reporter went on to claim that Dye failed a drug test for marijuana, which Dye once again claimed was false.  

Yeah, yeah. No, I mean, I haven't felt any test of that nature. I'm trying to think maturity-wise, I'm very mature when it comes time to be mature out on the field. like when it's time to work, I'm going to work. But like I said, I'm gonna have fun and enjoy life because life's too short to be worried about little things and be stressed about little stuff.

Here's the rest of the transcript.

Q: They say you failed a marijuana test early in your career.
A: Oh, really?
Q: That's what's out there on NFL.com.
A: I never have. 
Q: Never failed a drug test before?
A: No sir. I never have.

In Dye's draft profile on NFL.com, there is no mention of Dye failing a drug test and NBC Sports Northwest could not find any reports online or independently to verify claims of a failed drug test.

Troy Dye led the Ducks in tackles for four-consecutive seasons finishing with 398 tackles, 15 sacks, four forced fumbles and five interceptions in an Oregon uniform. In his senior season, he led the Ducks to a 12-2 record that included a Pac-12 Championship and Rose Bowl Championship, while playing through a broken thumb and torn meniscus. 

He will not participate in NFL Combine drills as he recovers from his surgery, but hopes to showcase his skills at Oregon's Pro Day on March 12. 

Todd McShay bets $5k that Jordan Love gets drafted before Justin Herbert in upcoming NFL Draft

Todd McShay bets $5k that Jordan Love gets drafted before Justin Herbert in upcoming NFL Draft

Todd McShay has fallen for Utah State quarterback Jordan Love. 

How in love is he?

Enough to bet $5,000 that he'll be selected before Justin Herbert in the upcoming NFL Draft.

During SportsCenter at the NFL Combine, draft experts Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay were brought on to discuss the quarterback class which includes Herbert and Love.

McShay had some favorable words about the Utah State signal-caller saying he's "the most underrated quarterback in this year's class. He called Kiper's analysis of Herbert "like the Flinstones," due to the fact he admires the Oregon product's measurables. McShay also believes Love "will be the third quarterback taken ahead of Justin Herbert." 

Kiper Jr. had a simple response: "You're dreaming."

The two then made a bet that if Love gets selected before Herbert, Kiper Jr. will donate $5,000 to the Jimmy V Foundation, and if Herbert goes before Love, then McShay will donate the sum to the same charity. They finalized the agreement with a handshake on camera.

Both Herbert and Love have been battling with each other and Washington quarterback Jacob Eason to become the third quarterback taken off the board after LSU's Joe Burrow and Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa. Kiper Jr. has Herbert easily as the third-best quarterback in the draft class and as the ninth-best prospect overall in his latest draft rankings. Back in December, he didn't even have Love in his top five quarterbacks with even Georgia's Jake Fromm also ahead of Love. 

Meanwhile, McShay believes in Love because he's "quick-twitched, gets the ball out quickly, can change his arm angles, [and] he can do all the little things." 

The 6-foot-4, 225 pound Love finished last season with 3,402 yards passing and 20 touchdown with 17 interceptions, while the 6-foot-6, 237 pound Herbert passed for 3,417 yards for 32 touchdowns and only six interceptions. The Oregon quarterback also led the Ducks to a 12-2 record, a Pac-12 Championship, and a Rose Bowl Championship in his senior season.

Both Love and Herbert participated in the Senior Bowl where Herbert took home both the Senior Bowl Practice MVP and Senior Bowl MVP trophies

[RELATED: Who won the Senior Bowl? Justin Herbert...]

The Eugene native is expected to be selected in the first ten picks of the 2020 NFL Draft, and with the Chargers moving on from Phillip Rivers, Los Angeles could take him at No. 6.

[RELATED: The L.A. Chargers are moving on from Phillip Rivers.....is it Justin Herbert time?]

You can watch the full clip below.

NFL Combine Profile: Oregon OL Shane Lemieux

NFL Combine Profile: Oregon OL Shane Lemieux

Shane Lemieux

Position: Offensive guard
Year: Senior 
Hometown: Yakima, WA

Measurables: 

Height: 6’3 7/8" 

Weight: 310 pounds

Hand: 9 4/8"

Arm: 32 2/8

Wingspan: 77

Lemieux is one of three Oregon offensive lineman participating in Friday's on-field drills.

Overview

Dependability. It’s something every team is looking for and a characteristic Oregon offensive lineman Shane Lemieux has exemplified in his four years at Oregon. Lemieux has started every game at left guard for the Ducks in the last four years, proving to be extremely powerful at the line of attack and a versatile trap blocker.

While Lemieux doesn’t have the hype surround him that some of his other teammates like Justin Herbert and Troy Dye have, he’s a player that will immediately be able to come in and compete for a starting role for team’s clamoring for a blocker.

Lemieux was ranked the No. 3 guard in the nation last season and No. 1 overall in the Pac-12, according to Pro Football Focus.

Draft projections

Mock drafts have Lemieux as a mid day two selection. While he has the potential to go in the first round, most mock drafts have him listed somewhere in the second and third rounds with teams like the Minnesota Vikings or Atlanta Falcons taking interest.

Strengths

- Solid communicator
- Nice pass protection technique
- Strong combo blocker
- Raw strength
- Hand power

Weaknesses

- Struggles with short area adjustments
- Needs to be a more consistent finisher
- Flexibility could use work

Social media workouts

Lemieux has been in Chandler, Arizona working out at OL Performance, a research and developmental partner of the NFL.

Report: Marcus Mariota has interest from multiple teams including New England

Report: Marcus Mariota has interest from multiple teams including New England

As the NFL approaches free agency, the rumor mill is heating up. 

According to Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network, Marcus Mariota has gotten interest from multiple teams including the Indianapolis Colts and the New England Patriots. Here's what he said:

Keep this in the back of your mind – with all the uncertainty surrounding Tom Brady, the New England Patriots are showing interest in soon to be free agent quarterback Marcus Mariota. The former first-round pick is being courted by several teams who may have an open competition at quarterback. I’m told the Indianapolis Colts have also shown interest in Mariota – just in case.

The report comes on the heels of Ian Rappaport of NFL Network saying that the New England Patriots are going to allow Tom Brady to test the free agency market by not franchise tagging him. However, he made it seem like the Patriots will be also looking at the market with their best fit in mind, and it'll ultimately be Bill Belichick's decision: "If Bill Belichick, who is making the decisions for New England... decides that Brady is his best option at [Brady's market value] then in the end... it's meant to be."

If Brady receives a large contract offer from a quarterback needing team in a large market, such as the Los Angeles Chargers or Las Vegas Raiders, then the Patriots may not want to match that deal and will let the 42-year old Brady walk away. Belichick and his staff have been able to develop quarterbacks well as evidenced by the entire QB room from 2016 being starters last season: Tom Brady, Jimmy Garoppolo, and Jacoby Brissett. 

Perhaps the Patriots staff sees the potential in Mariota that made him the second-overall pick in 2015 and believe that he is able to be groomed. Mariota's coming off a season where he got benched after seven games will certainly be less than what Brady will receive on the open market. If the former Heisman winner works out, then he could be the longtime starter for New England given he's only 26 years old. 

Pauline also mentioned the Colts as a potential landing destination, a season after Andrew Luck's sudden retirement from football. Many felt the team was poised for a Super Bowl run after a successful rookie coaching campaign from Frank Reich, but Luck's decision changed everything. Now-starting quarterback Jacoby Brissett has signed a two-year, $30 million contract. He finished with 2,942 passing yards, 18 touchdowns, and six interceptions along with four rushing touchdowns in 15 games, but his team only went 7-9 and missed the postseason. With Brissett entering the final year of his deal, the Colts could bring in Mariota to compete with him like how the Titans brought in Ryan Tannehill to compete with Mariota entering the final season of his rookie contract.

Shortly after a loss in the AFC Championship ended Mariota's season, he said he has "no doubts at all," about being a starter next season. 

Mariota has shown flashes throughout his professional career, including an impressive sophomore campaign when he threw 26 touchdowns and just nine interceptions with a career-best 7.9 yards-per-attempt until a broken leg ended his season. His junior season saw massive regression as he threw 13 touchdowns to 15 interceptions while playing through a hamstring injury. That regression would continue into his fourth season under first-year head coach Mike Vrabel. 

Before being benched, Mariota has a 29-32 record in 61 games as a starter with 13,207 passing yards, 76 touchdowns, and 44 interceptions. After being benched Mariota was a consummate professional until the end. Head coach Mike Vrabel praised Mariota's professionalism throughout the season. 

It's not entirely Mariota's fault, however; few young quarterbacks would succeed with four offensive coordinators and five different play-callers during their rookie contract. When he hits the open market in March, he can seek out a better opportunity to turn his career around, perhaps in New England.

NFL Combine profile: Oregon ILB Troy Dye

NFL Combine profile: Oregon ILB Troy Dye

Troy Dye

Position: Insider linebacker
Year: Senior
Hometown: Norco, California

Measurements:

Height: 6-3 1/4"

Weight: 231

Hand: 9 3/8"

Arm: 32 1/4"

Wingspan: 78"

Overview

Like teammate Justin Herbert, Troy Dye elected to return for his senior season after being projected as a mid-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

As a four-year starter, Dye helped take a 4-8 team in 2016, that was without a bowl game, to a 12-2 season his senior year, which included a Pac-12 championship and Rose Bowl victory.

His senior tour featured 84 tackles, 2.5 sacks and two interceptions. Dye was the highest-graded coverage linebacker in the conference, and did not allow a single touchdown while forcing three pass breakups and one interception. He was just six tackles away from 400 career tackles and named to three-consecutive Second-Team All Pac-12 nods.

Draft projections

Mock drafts predict Dye could land anywhere between the second and third rounds. He’s forecasted as high as 38th to as low as the third round, 69th overall.

NFL comparison:

Keith Ellison

Strengths

- Solid communicator
- Quickness with rushing the QB
- Pursuit-style player
- Athleticism
- Dangerous blitzer

Weaknesses

- Lacks explosiveness
- Slow in reading blocking schemes

PLEASE NOTE: Dye will not participate in drills at the NFL Combine. He underwent arthroscopic surgery last month to repair a torn meniscus suffered in the Ducks 34-6 win over Arizona last November. 

Social media workouts

Dye hasn’t posted any workout videos as of late, but he did recently hire Capital Sports Advisors to get ready for the 2020 NFL Draft process.

Oregon QB Justin Herbert's official numbers at the NFL Combine, FULL highlight

Oregon QB Justin Herbert's official numbers at the NFL Combine, FULL highlight

The NFL Scouting Combine is upon us and it’s a chance for us all to see the best collegiate athletes participate in potentially meaningless drills. 

It’s more than week’s long scouting session filled with formal and informal interviews that consist of odd lines of questioning, media gauntlets and a deep dive into one’s personal life. 

So, maybe participating in these drills might be the best part. 

For Oregon QB Justin Herbert, he’s looking to prove any doubters wrong. And, if the numbers he put up were any indication, he’s well on his way to doing so. 

WATCH

Here are Herbert’s official numbers coming out of day one:

40 yard dash: 4.68 seconds

Vertical jump: 35.5 inches

Broad jump: 123 inches 

3 cone drill: 7.06 seconds 

20 yard shuttle: 4.46 seconds

And here’s how he stacks up to this year’s class of QB’s:

  • Third fastest 40 yard dash behind Cole McDonald (4.58) from Hawaii and Jalen Hurts (4.59) from Oklahoma
  • Tied for second place with Utah State’s Jordan Love in vertical leap. Cole McDonald had a 36” vertical leap 
  • Third place in broad jump behind Missouri’s Kelly Bryant and Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts, who tied for first with a 125 inch jump. 
  • First place in the three cone drill, beating our Princeton’s Kevin Davidson and Hawaii’s Cole McDonald who came in second with a time of 7.13
  • Fourth place in the 20 yard shuttle, behind Kevin Davidson(4.37), Michigan State’s Bran Lewerke (4.40) and Colorado’s Steven Montez (4.43)
  • Herbert did not bench press

“I think the kid that showed up at the University of Oregon isn’t me anymore,” Herbert told reporters at the Combine on Monday. “There are aspects of my game that have changed. I’ve become more vocal. I’ve become more outgoing and there are things you have to do to be a quarterback and the way a quarterback carries himself. I think I’ve done a great job of becoming that over these past four years.”

“I want to come out here and I want to do everything, have fun, get better, learn. I think it’s all about the long haul so anything I can do to extend my game is what I’m going to do.”

NFL Combine profile: Oregon OL Calvin Throckmorton

NFL Combine profile: Oregon OL Calvin Throckmorton

Calvin Throckmorton

Position: Tackle
Year: Senior
Hometown: Bellevue, WA

Measurables: 

Height: 6'5

Weight: 317

Hand: 9 4/8"

Arm: 32 4/8

Wingspan: 77 7/8

Bench press: 23 reps

Overview

Recently named “the biggest sleeper at the offensive tackle position” by Bleacher Report, Throckmorton has shown versatility at Oregon with 38 consecutive starts at every position on the O-Line except left guard.

He has proven to be reliable pass protector, not allowing a single sack in 1,105 snaps. Throckmorton was named honorable mention All-Pac-12 and third All-American by the Associated Press at the end of his collegiate career.

Throckmorton lined up at guard and center during the East-West Shrine game. Reports suggest the 310-pounder received attention from both the Bills and Falcons during interview sessions.

Throckmorton has the highest career pass block grade of all offensive tackles in the 2020 NFL Draft, per PFF.

Draft projections

Scouting reports suggest Throckmorton has mid-round potential and will likely go in the 3rd to 4th rounds.

Strengths

- Well-rounded blocker
- Solid technique on the edge and the interior
- Experience and versatility

Weaknesses

- Notable tightness in hips
- Needs to improve flexibility
- Footwork needs improvement

Social media workouts

Here's Throckmorton, live from the NFL Combine himself: