Oregon's Justin Herbert Ranked 1st Ahead of LSU's Joe Burrow by Anonymous Scout

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistFebruary 23, 2020

PASADENA, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 01: Justin Herbert #10 of the Oregon Ducks runs to the huddle during the first quarter of the game against the Wisconsin Badgers at the Rose Bowl on January 01, 2020 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)
Alika Jenner/Getty Images

While many consider LSU star Joe Burrow to be the best quarterback in the 2020 draft, the opinion isn't universally held.

NFL Network's Tom Pelissero spoke to an AFC scout who ranked Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert ahead of Burrow: "He's bigger [6'6⅛", 227 lbs]. He's stronger. There's nothing more that kid needs to do."

Burrow's stock exploded over the course of the 2019 season. He threw for 5,671 yards, 60 touchdowns and six interceptions as he won the Heisman Trophy and helped guide the Tigers to a national title.

Herbert wasn't nearly as good as Burrow. He finished with 3,471 yards, 32 touchdowns and six interceptions, leading Oregon to a Rose Bowl win over Wisconsin.

Last May, Bleacher Report's Matt Miller ranked Herbert seventh overall and first among quarterbacks. Burrow didn't crack the top 32 overall or the top 10 quarterbacks. Burrow climbed to second overall behind Ohio State defensive end Chase Young in Miller's most recent big board in January.

An AFC executive questioned to Pelissero whether Oregon was holding Herbert back a bit in terms of showcasing his abilities: "Now, they didn't give him any help schematically. It was a s--t offense to watch. That's where our coaching staffs come in: 'Is it him? Or is it them?' He's got all the physical tools. He's big, he's fast, he's athletic and he's got a big f--king cannon arm."

Miller reported the Cincinnati Bengals will likely select Burrow with the first overall pick. Beyond the on-field value he'd provide, the Ohio native would help galvanize a fanbase that started voting with its feet last season.

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However, Burrow provided a cryptic comment to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Drew Davison about the possibility of the Bengals taking him in the draft.

"I do have leverage," he said. "[The Bengals] have their process and I have my process. We haven't even gotten to the combine yet. There's a lot of things to happen. Right now, I'm focused on being the best football player I can be."

Were Burrow to execute an Eli Manning-type power play on draft night, Herbert would be an alternative for Cincinnati.

Assuming Burrow becomes a member of the Bengals, Herbert may still wind up a top-five pick. The Miami Herald's Armando Salguero reported the Miami Dolphins, who have the No. 5 selection, have taken "an increasingly positive view" of him ahead of the draft on April 23.