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Why Justin Herbert can overtake Tua Tagovailoa in the NFL Draft process

Why Justin Herbert can overtake Tua Tagovailoa in the NFL Draft process

Tank for Tua.

That was the motto for the bottom-dwelling teams in the National Football League heading into and during the 2019 football season.

Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa had finished as runner up for the Heisman Trophy in 2018 and had a National Championship-winning touchdown throw the season before that. Entering his junior season, he was poised for one final college season before declaring for the 2020 NFL Draft. 

Despite Tagovailoa looking like a franchise quarterback last season, he suffered a season-ending hip dislocation against Mississippi State in November just before halftime. However, he was still considered the draft classes' best quarterback until Joe Burrow finished what may have been the best single-season in NCAA football history. 

So with Burrow as the presumed top quarterback in the draft and widely expected to be taken first overall by the Cincinnati Bengals, it leaves the question: is Tua still second?

Perhaps he is, but perhaps he's not.

Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert has also entered the conversation to be potentially the second quarterback taken come draft day, and this isn't the first time Tagovailoa and Herbert have been compared.

Both quarterbacks grew up with the University of Oregon as their dream school. Then-Ducks head coach Mark Helfrich offered Herbert, a three-star quarterback prospect from Sheldon High School in Eugene, near the end of the recruiting cycle as his only Power 5 offer. The same coach also infamously screwed up the recruitment of Tagovailoa and never offered him, despite his five-star status. When Willie Taggart came to Eugene he tried to flip Tagovailoa, but it was too late and he went to Alabama. 

Both quarterbacks enjoyed successful college careers. Tagovailoa won a National Championship after starting the second half against Georgia. Herbert became a four-year starter at Oregon and won a Pac-12 and Rose Bowl Championship as a senior. 

When it comes to their leadership skills, both are as good of people as you can ask for. Herbert has been questioned for his leadership entering the draft, but every teammate he had at Oregon says that concern is unwarranted. That just because he's not as loud, doesn't mean he doesn't lead. 

When it comes to college tape, while both players look like NFL caliber players, Tagovailoa was the top player heading into the season for a reason and the tape reflects that. Herbert can look amazing sometimes, but also has games like at Arizona State last season or the first half at Washington, where he makes mind-numbingly awful throws. Mistakes like that are far less likely to occur with Tagovailoa, but Tagovailoa had superior talent around him at Alabama throwing to Biletnikoff Award winner Jerry Judy while Herbert's targets led the NCAA in drops in 2018. That season, the Oregon quarterback was criticized for zoning in on his favorite target, Dillon Mitchell, but could you blame him? Anyone else he passed to dropped the ball. 

Also, Tagovailoa will be the only quarterback in the NFL next season that's left-handed and whichever team selects him will need to change their entire offensive line scheme to protect his blindside on the right rather than the left. Not a dealbreaker, but easily an inconvenience. 

Given the coronavirus pandemic, Justin Herbert may have a chance to overtake Tagovailoa, due to the abundance of postseason information about him. 

While Tagovailoa was finishing his rehab, Herbert was participating in many different draft process events before it all got canceled due to the pandemic. He was named MVP of Senior Bowl Practice and the Senior Bowl game, where he worked closely with and impressed Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan.

He’s very talented physically. He’s got prototypical size and athletic ability. He has a really, really strong arm. On top of that, he’s extremely intelligent and he’s very conscientious. He gathers information, he can process it and he can call it. He went under center for the first time, probably, in his career and he answered that bell with flying colors. Every day I continue to be impressed with the things we ask him to do and he answers really well.

After the Senior Bowl, Herbert participated in the NFL Combine and even threw there, which most top quarterback prospects decline doing. He once again excelled.

Then, the Oregon football Pro Day was among the last pro days that happened before the pandemic canceled all the remaining ones. As always, Herbert looked like a franchise player with all the physical tools needed to succeed in the NFL.

Tua has been "fully cleared and ready to compete without any restrictions" according to the president of Steinberg Sports & Entertainment Chris Cabott, the firm that represents him. But he can't fly into teams for an individual workout nor can a team's personal medical doctors examine him. Even if the tape favors Tua over Herbert, is taking Tua over Herbert, who has impressed scouts much more recently while Tua has been in rehab, worth the risk? With the parity in the NFL, teams don't have top-five draft picks that often in the league and whiffing on one can derail a franchise or hitting on one can save one. 

It'll come down to each franchise's risk tolerance on if Tua or Herbert will be the choice for them, as Bleacher Report Draft Scout Matt Miller broke down recently.

Multiple teams prefer Justin Herbert to Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa because of injuries and the unknown. I was actually talking to a high level team executive yesterday and he said "You know, in a normal year you can honestly make an argument that Tua should be the number two overall pick and maybe number one overall pick but because you're taking a third party's word for it when it comes to his medicals at this point in time that teams are going to be a little bit hesitant," and because of that this guy and other teams have told me don't be surprised if Justin Herbert is the second quarterback picked because there are no questions about injuries when it comes to his evaluations.

As of now, the NFL has no plans to delay the NFL Draft, so we will get our answer on April 23. 

Oregon football, CFB coaches call for change amid death of George Floyd

George Floyd's family attorney

Oregon football, CFB coaches call for change amid death of George Floyd

The death of George Floyd has affected many aspects of life and college football is no different.

This past Monday, Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, lost his life after a white police officer held Floyd down on the ground with his knee to Floyd's neck for several minutes.  

Four police officers connected to the death of Floyd were fired.  The officer who held Floyd down, Derek Chauvin, has since been charged with third degree murder and manslaughter.

Since Floyd's death, there have been protests, riots and looting in Minneapolis where the incident occurred and across the country.

Outrage is being felt across the country, which has prompted athletes and coaches across the country to weigh in on the matter. 

Various players and coaches of University of Oregon football team have reacted Floyd's death and the action that should be taken to prevent incidents like Floyd's death from happening again. 

Other college football coaches have weighed in, as well. 


Arik Armstead among Forbes' highest paid athletes, but there's a catch

Arik Armstead among Forbes' highest paid athletes, but there's a catch

This year’s Forbes list of highest-paid athletes in the world features a range of athletes across different sports.

While more NBA players made the list than any other sport (34 players), NFL players had their best year as a group thanks to the season’s late-summer start.

There are currently 31 NFL players on the list. Carson Wentz ranks the highest out of all of them with coming in at No.10.

Former Oregon defensive tackle Arik Armstead also made the Top 100. He came in at No. 59 with earnings of $26.8 million. After signing a blockbuster five-year, $85 million contract extension back in March, which included $45.85M in guarantees, it would make sense that him to be on this list.

Here is the thing, though. You most likely won’t be seeing Armstead in next year’s Forbes list.

Confusing? Yes, but let’s break down Armstead’s complicated contract.

As mentioned before, Armstead signed a 5 year, $85,000,000 contract with the San Francisco 49ers, including a $3,500,000 signing bonus, $40,000,000 guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $17,000,000.

A lot of money upfront as you can see. But with it is a lot more complicated than that.

OvertheCap explains it a little bit more.

Armstead received $45.85 million in guarantees, $34.15 million of which is guaranteed at signing. His initial guarantee is made up of his 2020 and 2021 base salaries, a $17.5 million signing bonus, and a protected $7.5 million 2021 option bonus. If Armstead is on the roster on April 1, 2022, another $5.85 million becomes fully guaranteed. There are $750,000 in per-game bonuses in the final four contract years. The 2025 season is a void contract year used for the purposes of lowering cap charges during the contract. The contract voids if no extension is reached by the fifth day of the 2025 waiver period.”

Here is a breakdown of the cap hit by year:

2020: $6M

2021: $12.5M

2022: $20M

2023: $21.74M

2024: $23.26M

2025: $18.5M (Voids on 5th day of waiver claim which is after the Super Bowl)

So, yes, Armstead will still receive $34.15 million in full guarantees and $45.85 in total guarantees.

The contract is a little different from the norm of how contracts work, but they're becoming more common.

Long story short, it’s a three-year deal. The 49ers can get out after Year 2 if the option bonus is exercised, and that would mean $6.65 of his base salary is guaranteed instead of $14.15 million.

The 49ers basically got Armstead under $19 million against the cap for the next two years combined.

Armstead did make enough money for the Forbes list this year, but don’t be on the lookout for Armstead to be on next year.

The 49ers made him a wealthy man, but the organization is playing the money game well but spreading it out over the next five years.

Be sure to check out the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest Oregon Strength & Conditioning Coach Aaron Feld.

Oregon Football lands commitment from 3-star corner Darren Barkins

Oregon Football lands commitment from 3-star corner Darren Barkins

Another day passes and the Oregon Ducks continue to build upon the Califlock pipeline.

On Saturday, 2021 three-star defensive back Darren Barkins from mater Dei Catholic High School in Chula Vista, California has committed to the University of Oregon.

My whole life I’ve been waiting for this moment. With that being said I would like to announce that I will continuing my athletic and academic career at THE UNIVERSITY OF OREGON! — Darren Barkins

The 6-foot-1, 170-pound corner held offers from other Pac-12 schools Arizona, Cal, Oregon State, UCLA, Washington and Washington State as well as Oklahoma, UNLV and Boise State among others before deciding on Mario Cristobal and flocking north to Eugene, Oregon.

Barkins is the second DB to commit to Oregon in the past 24 hours. The Ducks landed JUCO transfer Jadarrius Perkins from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College on Friday. 

Here's what the Oregon corners room could look like in 2021: Mykael Wright, Trikweze Bridges, DJ James, Verone McKinley III, JJ Greenfield, Dontae Manning, Bennett Williams and Barkins.

First-year Oregon cornerbacks coach Rod Chance seems to be doing okay on the recruiting trail so far for the Ducks.

Be sure to check out the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest Oregon Strength & Conditioning Coach Aaron Feld.

Construction begins on nation's largest video board at Autzen Stadium

Construction begins on nation's largest video board at Autzen Stadium

Back in March, the University of Oregon announced plans to install a new video board and sound system with a targeted completion date of August 2020, ahead of the upcoming college football season. 

Now it appears to have begun construction.

"The project is anticipated to cost $12 million and involves the removal of the existing stadium sound system (installed in 2002), removal of the small video board located in the northeast end of the stadium, and the installation of a new structure at the east end of the stadium which will include a point-source sound system and a new video board."

The plan involves removing the 18-year-old sound system located above the end-zone terrace as well as the small video board in the northeast of the stadium completely. The existing large video board on the west end, last upgraded in 2008, will remain in use. 

Oregon Athletics wanted to start construction as soon as possible to ensure completion by August 2020 but then the coronavirus pandemic hit the United States.

Next, Oregon Athletics will install a new support structure and video boards above the east end-zone terrace that'll also hold a new point-source sound system that'll serve the entire stadium. 

The video board open to the fans in attendance will be 186' x 66' while another video board facing the outside of the stadium (47' x 26') will communicate messages and entertain patrons. 

Here are some renderings of the designs from the University of Oregon.

Be sure to check out the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest Oregon Strength & Conditioning Coach Aaron Feld.

Oregon Ducks land commitment from JUCO CB Jadarrius Perkins

Oregon Ducks land commitment from JUCO CB Jadarrius Perkins

What a Friday for the Ducks!

Hours after landing a commitment from three-star DE/OLB Brandon Buckner, the Ducks have gotten another addition to the 2021 recruiting class.

JUCO cornerback Jadarrius Perkins from Mississippi Gulf Coast CC has committed to the University of Oregon, he announced on Twitter Friday afternoon.

"FIRST and foremost I would like to thank God for blessing me with the ability to play this sport I love so much!" wrote the 6'2", 185-pound corner. "I also want to thank Coach Chance, Cristobal, and the rest of the Oregon family for believing in my talents that the good lord has blessed me with...WITH THAT SAID THIS SIP BOY COMING HOME TO Eugene I'M A DUCK BABY!!! #ScoDucks #TakeFlight21." 

Perkins held offers from Arkansas, Baylor, Louisville, Mississippi State, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Washington State, UCF, West Virginia, and more. While unrated on current recruiting websites, it's clear that he will be a highly rated player once the lists are updated. 

He had originally scheduled his commitment for Wednesday but delayed it to an undisclosed time, which happened to be just two days later.

Only a few months after accepting the defensive backs coaching job at Oregon, Rod Chance secured a highly touted recruit in the secondary. 

The defensive back will have three years to play two when he arrives in Eugene.

He took a virtual visit of the campus on May 11 which blew him away, as he told the Oregonian's Andrew Nemec.

“I visited [virtually],” he said. “The campus is so nice and everything is top notch. They have one of the best facilities I’ve ever seen.”

Perkins also said he wants to be a unique player in the Pac-12. One that aligns with Mario Cristobal's desire to bring SEC-like physicality to the West Coast.

They want me to press and be physical with receivers,” he said. “I’m a big, fast press corner. They ain’t seen anyone like me in the Pac-12 yet. I promise you that, sir.”

You can watch his hudl highlights below.

Be sure to check out the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest Oregon Strength & Conditioning Coach Aaron Feld.

Oregon Ducks land commitment from three-star DE Brandon Buckner

Oregon Ducks land commitment from three-star DE Brandon Buckner

Well, that didn't take long.

Just two days after landing a verbal committment from the nation's fourth-ranked tight end Moliki Matavao, the Ducks have secured another commitment for the 2021 recruiting class.

[RELATED]: Oregon Ducks land 2021 four-star, nation's No. 4 TE Moliki Matavao

Three-star strongside defensive end or outside linebacker Brandon Buckner, the son of former NFL defensive tackle Brentson Buckner,  has committed to the University of Oregon, as announced via his Twitter.

"First off, I would like to thank god for the position I am in today," said Buckner in his commitment video. "My whole life I've been waiting for this moment. Ever since I was a kid, the game of football has always been a passion of mine. Growing up watching my Dad play I always knew this was meant for me. To all my friends and family in Charlotte, thank you for believing in me. To my teammates, coaches and teachers at Chandler, thank you for pushing me to be a better leader on and off the field. To my Mom, Grandpa, and sisses, thank you for developing me into the young man that I am today. 

My Dad's a legend and I'm starting my own legacy at THE University of Oregon. Sco Ducks. 

Buckner's father, Brentson, was an All-ACC defensive tackle his senior season at Clemson in 1993. He then would be selected 50th overall in the 1994 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers to begin an eleven-year professional career. He now serves as the defensive line coach for the Arizona Cardinals. 

As a junior, Buckner recorded 14.5 sacks despite missing the first four games of the season. Additionally, he recorded 25 tackles-for-loss and had 50 total tackles which made him 6A All-Region First Team selection and a Max Preps All-Arizona First Team Selection.

While not having a Clemson offer, the 6'1", 234-pound defensive end had offers from Arizona State, Arizona, Colorado, Fresno State, Oregon State, Iowa State and more. 

247Sports grades Buckner as a three-star recruit and the eleventh best player in Arizona and the tenth best by composite ranking. This marks yet another Arizona prospect that has chosen the Ducks during the 2021 recruiting cycle, following the footsteps of four-star OT Bram Walden (best player in Arizona), four-star QB Ty Thompson (2nd-best player in Arizona), and four-star OT Jonah Miller (5th-best player in Arizona). 

The Ducks continue to recruit at a high level, backing up Cristobal's claims that the 2021 class could the best one in program history.

You can watch Buckner's hudl highlights here.

Be sure to check out the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest Oregon Strength & Conditioning Coach Aaron Feld.

What Oregon OC Joe Moorhead has been most impressed by from Tyler Shough

What Oregon OC Joe Moorhead has been most impressed by from Tyler Shough

There are a lot of missing pieces on the Oregon Ducks offense heading into the 2020 season that need answers, the biggest hole was left behind by now Los Angeles quarterback Justin Herbert.

The Ducks are looking for the next heir to the throne. Many eyes are looking now to Tyler Shough, however, with a new quarterback and new offensive coordinator, Oregon along with the rest of the country had just a handful of spring practices to gel the two together.

In those four practices, new Oregon Offensive Coordinator Joe Moorhead liked what he saw in Shough leading the offense and recently joined the latest ‘Happy Hour with the Ducks’ with host GoDucks.com editor Rob Moseley.

There’s a great understated confidence. I’ve always said ‘When a starting quarterback walks into a room, you shouldn’t have to ask if he’s a starting quarterback.’ Tyler can force himself that way, right on the edge of confidence and cockiness. Obviously, he can throw the heck out of the ball, he’s a very capable runner, but the thing I’ve been most impressed with is his willingness to do the little things and how seriously he takes the preparation aspect of it. That’s something from spring ball he’s carried on into meetings during this time. 

I think you’re going to see a great combination of physical skill and mental ability and preparation. He’s competitive as heck. — Joe Moorhead 

Only time will tell. 

[RELATED]: Details surrounding the Pac-12 to allow voluntary in-person workouts 

Shough has patiently waited his turn for two seasons in Eugene. In 2019, he saw playing time in five games and taken 53 snaps where he connected on 12-of-15 passes for 144 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.

Alongside Shough in the QB room is Boston College grad transfer Anthony Brown, sophomore Bradley Yaffe, redshirt freshman Cale Millen and incoming freshman Jay Butterfield. Lots of talent and all with different levels of experience. 

Someone with that experience, someone with that confidence, someone who has done it well at the highest level… It’s magnified because it’s the quarterback position but if there was someone in the transfer portal that would help make the position better, the unit better and the team better, that’s something you have to take advantage of. — Joe Moorhead said on Brown.

[RELATED]: Oregon Ducks embrace culture of competition with transfer of QB Anthony Brown

Iron sharpens iron, right? 

Watch the full interview below:

Be sure to check out the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest Oregon Strength & Conditioning Coach Aaron Feld.

How Justin Herbert staying at Oregon will pay dividends for LA Chargers

How Justin Herbert staying at Oregon will pay dividends for LA Chargers

Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert was a first round pick... last year. But, he decided to stay and risk his status and his health for his team and his education. 

Now, it looks like staying that extra year is paying off for the new Chargers rookie.

Herbert posted more passing yards and touchdowns while completing a higher percentage of passes compared to his junior year.

Oh, and he also led Oregon to a Pac-12 Championship and Rose Bowl victory to round out his collegiate career.

Being selected by the Chargers at the #6 pick in this year’s draft, quarterback coach Pep Hamilton is looking for Herbert to compete on day one with the experience he has gained over the years.

The combination of size, athletic ability and arm talent (is intriguing,) but more importantly, he's had a ton of experience playing in games. It really helped him staying an extra year at Oregon. He has over 1,200 pass attempts in college and you can't teach experience. When it's time for him to play once he's acclimated to the speed of the NFL game and has a good understanding of what NFL defenses are trying to do, I think the sky's the limit.

The starting job isn’t Herbert’s just yet. 

With veteran QB Tyron Taylor still on the team, it could be a little bit of time before we see what Herbert can bring the table.

Still, the keys to the castle are Herbert's for the taking, it's just a matter of when he'll take the throne for good. 

The Oregon Duck is an icon, while Mandrake the RoboDuck could never fly

The Oregon Duck is an icon, while Mandrake the RoboDuck could never fly

The Duck. He's a legend around Eugene and an icon in the mascot world.

Not only is he loved by Ducks fans, but he is also one of the most beloved mascots in all of sports. 

His countless in-game push-ups, wise-quacks and shenanigans are just as much a part of the game as the game itself.

Oregon Athletics just wouldn't be the same without him. 

As Oregon made its ascent to national prominence over the years, The Duck was there to help build the brand. 

His appearances on ESPN Gameday are always sure to bring a laugh, as is his bromance with co-host Lee Corso, and his many commercial spots never get old. 

Yet, for some reason, the school tried to sweep him to the side nearly two decades ago. 

In the latest installment of "Ever Wonder," we explored The Duck's connection to Disney and whether he was related to Donald Duck. 

Around the same time Oregon and Disney distanced itself from its handshake agreement, Mandrake was born. 

It was back in 2002 that out of a giant car-sized egg in the west endzone of Autzen Stadium, RoboDuck appeared. 

Mandrake was new, sleek, and ready to take Oregon to the next level. 

He was Iron Man, meets bodybuilder, meets college mascot. He was everything The Duck wasn't!

The Duck was fluffy. Mandrake was chiseled. 

The Duck was comical. Mandrake was all business.

The Duck was always smiling. Mandrake always looked angry.

The Duck was huggable. Mandrake was just scary.

And although Mandrake looked like a UFC fighter, it's not like The Duck needed protection. He has proved on more than one occasion that he can handle himself. 

Most importantly, The Duck was loved by Oregon fans. Mandrake was not.

[RELATED: Ever wonder if the Oregon Ducks mascot is actually related to Donald Duck?]

Roboduck, as he was called, was never meant to replace The Duck. Rather, he was just meant to be a secondary figure to build the brand around. Heck, he looked a real-life action figure. The merchandise was going to make itself.

But that never came to be. 

As quickly as he hatched from his giant shell, Mandrake scampered into the shadows, out into the Willamette Valley forests. 

He hasn't been seen on campus since 2003, though the school did tease his return in 2013... as an April Fools joke.

As for The Duck. Like a fine wine, he just keeps getting better with age.