The Los Angeles Chargers selected Justin Herbert No. 6 overall in the 2020 NFL draft on Thursday night, and the former Oregon quarterback couldn't be more excited to serve as the franchise's presumptive heir to Philip Rivers.
"This is just such an incredible opportunity," Herbert told reporters. "Words can't describe how excited and thrilled and fired up I am for this."
However, Herbert wasn't sure if Los Angeles would use its top selection on him even though many experts projected him to go there in the months leading up to the draft:
Daniel Popper @danielrpopper
Justin Herbert said the #Chargers sent him a package with a modified playbook — formations, plays, etc. He said he got one formation wrong when he was quizzed on a Zoom call and told his agents he didn't think he was going to be a Charger. Seems like he's used to perfection...
The 22-year-old also defended his leadership ability while speaking with reporters:
Jeff Miller @JeffMillerLAT
Herbert on his leadership ability, which some have questioned: “I think if you ask anyone at our facility at Oregon they’d tell you differently. I know what type of leader I am. I’m genuine. I’m real. I’m myself. When something needs to be said, I have no problem saying it.” https://t.co/n1xriGiQlZ
Bleacher Report's Matt Miller ranked Herbert as the 27th-best overall prospect and third-best quarterback on his final big board.
Herbert threw for a career-high 3,471 yards, 32 touchdowns and six interceptions on a 66.8 percent completion percentage as a senior for the Ducks last season.
ESPN's Jesse Palmer said on SportsCenter with Scott Van Pelt that Herbert is in the best situation for success, even above Cincinnati Bengals top overall pick Joe Burrow or Miami Dolphins fifth overall pick Tua Tagovailoa:
"I would say Justin Herbert from Oregon's probably in the best situation because of his surrounding talent at wide receiver with Los Angeles in Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Austin Ekeler at running back. I think he probably has the best opportunity to have success early or right away. ... I certainly think these three guys that all went in the top six, they all have the opportunity to have very long and very successful careers."
However, Herbert will have to beat out veteran quarterback Tyrod Taylor for the starting job.
Taylor is under contract through next season and will become an unrestricted free agent in 2021.
Rivers, who signed with the Indianapolis Colts in March, has not missed a regular-season start since 2005. Whether it's with Herbert or Taylor under center, L.A. will have a new look.