2020 NFL Draft

Justin Herbert to Tennessee in NFL Draft isn't out of the question

Justin Herbert to Tennessee in NFL Draft isn't out of the question

Speculation is oozing that the Tennessee Titans will look to secure a top quarterback in the 2020 NFL Draft. Some mock drafts have the Titans selecting another passer from Oregon football: Justin Herbert as the replacement for Marcus Mariota in Nashville. 

The 2-4 Tennessee Titans have sent Mariota to the bench in favor of Ryan Tannehill. It’s a could-be sad ending to a Nashville story that began with much promise. Drafted No. 2 overall in 2015, Mariota brought high hopes to the Titans, becoming the face of the franchise in his humble, nice and unassuming way.

On the fifth and final year of his rookie contract, Mariota will be an unrestricted free agent come the end of the season and likely headed elsewhere for 2020 to hopefully reach his full NFL potential. The Titans look to also move on to find a new answer at quarterback.

In the preseason, USA Today had Herbert slotted to Tennessee in the first round. This week, The Draft Wire released their 2020 NFL Mock Draft and also predicted the Titans to select Herbert in the first round. CBS Sports’ Mock Draft forecasts the Titans picking Herbert with the No. 9 overall selection.

Important to note, of the many NFL scouts present in Eugene for Oregon’s most recent win over Colorado, two Titans scouts were present. Herbert, the 6-foot-6, 235-pound passer, is highly regarded as a projected top-10 2020 NFL Draft pick.

It’s too early for mock drafts, considering a lot can transpire between now and April with Herbert and with the Titans franchise. These scenarios assume that Tennessee misses the playoffs by a large margin with one of the worst records in the NFL.

But depending on draft position, another Oregon quarterback to Tennessee is not out of the question.

Troy Dye, projected first round 2020 NFL draft pick, will smash Oregon record

Troy Dye, projected first round 2020 NFL draft pick, will smash Oregon record

In 2019, I predict Oregon inside linebacker Troy Dye’s reign of terror on Pac-12 offenses will continue and the senior will take down the Oregon record for career tackles, set in 1971.

The 6-foot-4, 225-pound Dye will undoubtedly be the leader of Oregon’s 2019 defense and he’s already etched his name in UO history books: leading the team in tackles for three straight seasons, only the third Duck to do so since 1970.

The “freak athlete” as NFL scouting reports often refer to Dye, finished the 2018 season with 115 total tackles totaling 313 in his collegiate career. He needs 121 tackles, six more than he had last season, to set the record.

[READ: Justin Herbert gearing up for final Duck season, invited to Manning Passing Academy]

The career record for tackles by a Duck was set by Tom Graham with 433 from 1969 to 1971, with an insane 206 tackles in 1969.

Dye, whose 313 tackles rank third among current FBS players, elected to return for his senior season after being projected as a mid-round 2019 NFL draft selection.

The linebacker has jumped up in 2020 NFL Draft projections to the first round. Rotoworld’s 2020 Mock Draft has the Los Angeles Rams selecting Dye at No. 32 overall. The Rams, who failed to address their linebacking need until the seventh round of the 2019 draft, have their eye on the speedy and versatile Dye.

Dye is in a position to become the first Duck to tally three straight 100 tackle seasons. Yes, he has more defensive talent around him this season (cough, Kayvon Thibodeaux, cough) but Dye’s elite agility and lateral quickness gives him the ability to power through linemen and can get skinny to shoot multiple gaps.

His slighter frame was Dye’s biggest weakness, but he intends to add muscle this offseason with the goal of playing next season around 235-240 pounds.

“Troy impacts our program in so many ways with his passion, leadership and love for the game,” Oregon coach Mario Cristobal said. “He leads by example and is someone his teammates look up to. Troy is a difference-maker every snap that he is on the field, and his desire to be great helps elevate our culture to the next level.”

A stronger Dye could very well lead the Pac-12 Conference in tackles next season. In which case, he’d likely earn his first All-Pac-12 first team defensive honors.


On a personal level, Dye’s decision to stay for his senior season opened up the opportunity to make Oregon history, add to his resume and his growing NFL stock.

As far as the team goes, the Ducks are probable favorites in the north division and the conference for 2019. Entering year two under Cristobal with a veteran offensive line, running back weapons CJ Verdell and Travis Dye, an influx of young talent at receivereight returning starters on defense and a few extraordinary freshman who could make instant impacts… 2019 is shaping up to be an exciting season for Oregon football.

Justin Herbert's NFL Draft hype is one for the decade

Justin Herbert's NFL Draft hype is one for the decade

Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert is receiving literally off the charts hype. 

[WATCH: Juwan Johnson and Justin Herbert's intensifying connection]

Herbert, the 6-foot-6, 235-pound passer with the powerful right arm and sneaky fast wheels, has already been pegged as a top 10 prospect in the 2020 NFL Draft. However, as the 2019 season inches closer, scouts have ranked Herbert as the top NFL prospect from the senior class, with one of the best senior rankings of the decade.

I caught up with Bleacher Report's Matt Miller to get his take on the NFL career that awaits Oregon's ultra-talented quarterback in a Q&A.

What is your favorite thing about Herbert you think will translate well to the NFL?

Miller: He’s a beautiful passer. And I don’t even mean the hair. Mechanically he’s flawless. He has excellent size and arm strength. He can move well out of the pocket. There’s a lot to love. 

You can read the rest of Miller's scouting report here.

Yes, the possibility of Herbert as a top selection in 2020 NFL draft is exciting. Even more exciting for Oregon fans is that his teammates have seen an exponential growth in Herbert. 

"Justin has never been the athlete he is now," said senior Shane Lemieux, who has started 38 straight games at left guard, "Especially off the field, he’s such a better leader… He’s always the one that brings us back in."

It'll be all eyes on Herbert and the Ducks from the start. Oregon opens up the 2019 season in prime time versus Auburn in AT&T Stadium in  Arlington, Texas.

Talkin' with the Ducks: Justin Herbert more than a "quiet guy who can sling the rock" says Shane Lemieux

Talkin' with the Ducks: Justin Herbert more than a "quiet guy who can sling the rock" says Shane Lemieux

Welcome into a new running NBC Sports Northwest feature; Talkin’ with the Ducks. Joining us on the second edition is the top-ranked guard in the Pac-12 Conference, senior Shane Lemieux. The video above is part one, where we dive into Lemieux's perspective on quarterback Justin Herbert. 

[WATCH: Juwan Johnson and Justin Herbert's intensifying connection]

Lemieux, who has started 38 straight games at left guard, has witnessed Herbert evolve over their careers at Oregon but he's noticed exponential growth as of late. 

"Justin has never been the athlete he is now," Lemieux said. "Especially off the field, he’s such a better leader… He’s always the one that brings us back in."

Herbert, the 6-foot-6, 235-pound passer with the powerful right arm and sneaky fast wheels, has already been pegged as a top 10 prospect in the 2020 NFL Draft. 

In the video, Lemieux divulges that Herbert's personality is different than the common perception. Also, he answers the question, if Herbert had social media, what would his Instagram look like?