With Philip Rivers now a member of the Indianapolis Colts, the Los Angeles Chargers made the decision to use their No. 6 overall pick on former Oregon signal-caller Justin Herbert. The Chargers are also high on veteran quarterback Tyrod Taylor, and head coach Anthony Lynn hasn't shied away from Taylor will get the initial first-team reps come training camp, but it will be hard not to be intrigued by the Chargers' new toy under center.
The Chargers also have a new quarterbacks coach in Pep Hamilton -- who most recently served as both the head coach and general manager for the XFL's DC Defenders. He's worked with some of the best quarterbacks in the game, including Vinny Testaverde and Andrew Luck. Now, he is tasked with educating Herbert on the fundamentals of reading NFL defenses. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hamilton and Herbert have been communicating by phone and online video conferences. While he has yet to meet with him to practice, Hamilton revealed that he's a big fan of Herbert, and reminds him of another signal-caller he coached earlier on in his career.
"At this point, I'm looking forward to getting more feedback from Justin. Right now, we're in lecture mode," Hamilton said, via NFL.com. "Our sessions are interactive, but it's more so testing him on the things that we've introduced and seeing, Does he have a recall? The answer is: Yes, he does. He's a guy who can memorize a lot of information in the short term and in the long term. We already know he can really throw the football. I haven't coached a quarterback that just had the natural release and spin on the ball that Justin has since Vinny Testaverde -- a tall, linear guy, a long-levered guy who really just has a great release and can make all the throws."
In his senior season at Oregon, Herbert threw for 3,471 yards, a career-high 32 touchdowns and six interceptions. Hamilton recounted a game Oregon played against Stanford last September, in which Herbert completed 19 of 24 passes for 259 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. From there, it was clear to him that Herbert had potential at the next level.
"There was no doubt he was the best player on the field that day," Hamilton said.
The 6-foot-6, 236-pound quarterback has the prototypical height you want from an NFL quarterback and possesses one of the best arms in this draft class as well. While he rushed for just 560 yards and 13 touchdowns during his four years at Oregon, Herbert has the kind of athleticism it takes to be a dual-threat quarterback. At the very least, he's someone who can scramble effectively when necessary.
It may be a couple more months before Herbert gets a chance to work with Hamilton in person, but the Chargers clearly see plenty of potential in their new quarterback.