Tua, Justin Herbert, Best QB Prospects for Colts After Andrew Luck Retirement

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistAugust 25, 2019

SANTA CLARA, CA - DECEMBER 31:  Justin Herbert #10 of the Oregon Ducks looks to pass against the Michigan State Spartans during the first half of the Redbox Bowl at Levi's Stadium on December 31, 2018 in Santa Clara, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

When Adam Schefter of ESPN broke the news of Andrew Luck's retirement at the age of 29 on Saturday night, it put a spotlight on the Indianapolis Colts' quarterback situation moving forward.

Former third-round pick Jacoby Brissett will likely be the starter for 2019. Brissett has made just 17 starts through his first three seasons, though, going 5-12 in the process.

If Brissett fails to impress coach Frank Reich and Co., the team could be in the market for a franchise quarterback come April's draft. And there are a number of intriguing quarterbacks who could be available.


Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama

Tua Tagovailoa burst on to the scene in legendary fashion as a freshman, leading Alabama back from a halftime deficit to win the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship. His encore performance wasn't bad, either.

Tagovailoa beat out upperclassman Jalen Hurts for the starting job last offseason. He proceeded to reward coach Nick Saban for his choice, completing 69.0 percent of his passes for 3,966 yards, 43 touchdowns and six interceptions.

PFF College @PFF_College

Can Tua lead the Tide to a national Championship this season? #PFFCollege50 https://t.co/8IKwTvLCoI https://t.co/epoxEPhHMz

If not for an ankle injury during the SEC Championship Game, Tagovailoa may have taken home the 2018 Heisman Trophy. Instead, he had to settle for second behind 2019 No. 1 overall pick Kyler Murray.

As Saban has built a dynasty in Tuscaloosa, the Crimson Tide have used a strong ground game and a dominant defense to reel off victories. With Tagovailoa, though, the team has a bona fide star at quarterback.

Tagovailoa showed last year that he can air the ball out while still taking care of the football. It wasn't until his ninth game of the season that he finally threw an interception. By that point, he had already racked up more than 2,000 passing yards and 26 touchdowns.

While Murray used his legs to help take the Heisman with a late charge, the 6'1", 218-pound Tagovailoa relies mainly on his arm to move the football—but he can use his legs when necessary. He ran for 190 yards and five touchdowns as a sophomore.

Bleacher Report draft expert Matt Miller ranked Tagovailoa as the second-best quarterback prospect for the 2020 draft in May. Now that he has a year of starting experience at the collegiate level under his belt, he can show teams how he can adjust on a year-to-year basis.


Justin Herbert, Oregon

Justin Herbert entered last season as a candidate to go No. 1 overall in the 2019 draft. And despite an up-and-down 2018 campaign, he remains one of the top prospects in the country.

Herbert completed just 59.4 percent of his passes for Oregon last season, throwing for 3,151 yards, 29 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Meanwhile, he led the Ducks to a 9-4 record.

PFF College @PFF_College

Justin Herbert is set for success in all areas this season. https://t.co/EPxU9EBKXK

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Justin Herbert saw his fair share of clean pockets last season and he made the most of them, tossing 24 touchdowns with an adjusted completion percentage of 76.1%. https://t.co/SgUMtXn3O9

That comes one season after he was limited to just eight games as a sophomore because of a broken collarbone.

Though he may have been the first player taken overall in April, he opted to return to Eugene for his senior season. With the Ducks ranked 11th in the preseason Associated Press poll, he will have the chance to put his team in playoff contention and show what he can do in the spotlight.

The 6'6", 237-pound Herbert has shown enough for Miller to list him as the No. 1 quarterback prospect in next year's draft. Miller noted Herbert has the "best traits" of all of the potential passers in the class.


Jake Fromm, Georgia

Through his first two seasons in Athens, Georgia, Jake Fromm has been one of the nation's elite quarterbacks.

Fromm led Georgia to a berth in the national championship game as a freshman and was an SEC Championship Game victory away from making it back-to-back College Football Playoff appearances. And as he enters his junior season, the third-ranked Bulldogs are viewed as one of the top teams in college football.

A big performance could not only result in a national title but also potentially put Fromm at the top of his draft class.

Fromm may not have the same gaudy numbers as some of his peers, but he has been impressive through two years in college. He completed 67.4 percent of his passes for 2,761 yards, 30 touchdowns and six interceptions as a sophomore.

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Jake Fromm has clearly been unfazed by the blitz this season https://t.co/E5cvff6pEi

Perhaps the only question at this point is about his ability to finish strong in the spotlight. He has seen his Bulldogs blow both a 13-point lead in the national championship game and a 14-point lead in the SEC title game, both to rival Alabama.

Miller rates Fromm as the third-best prospect in next year's draft class, though he deemed the Georgia star as the most NFL-ready. Meanwhile, NFL.com draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah wrote earlier in August that Fromm is a "very polarizing player." While Jeremiah praised Fromm's accuracy and leadership, he questioned the 6'2", 220-pound signal-caller's arm strength.

An executive told Jeremiah that Fromm will be an "efficient starter in the NFL."