The period between the end of the NFL combine and the start of free agency may be the most rumor-filled time of year for the league. The latest big one? Justin Herbert falling to the Patriots in the 2020 NFL draft.In his latest mock, renowned NFL Network draft expert Daniel Jeremiah has Justin Herbert being selected by New England at 23. Jeremiah noted that it’s “very doubtful” Herbert would fall that far, but “if he starts to slide a little bit, I could see a team like the Patriots being a team to target him to move up.” Jeremiah suggested that once Herbert gets past the Chargers at 6, all bets are off. Pro Football Focus also had New England taking Herbert at #23 in their mock draft from February 24th.
The buzz of Herbert to New England only grew when he told Peter King that Josh McDaniels was the one person he met at the combine who really impressed him. Herbert said he’s “always looked up to” McDaniels and said “I love their offense”.
There was a time when Herbert was considered a possible #1 overall pick, but his stock slipped after returning to Oregon for his senior season. If Herbert had declared for the 2019 NFL draft, the belief was there would’ve been a serious competition between him and Kyler Murray to be selected first.
The prevailing thought is that Herbert having a legitimate chance to fall to New England is dependent on only one quarterback being drafted in the 2-6 range. It’s not unrealistic to expect Washington and Detroit to pass on a QB since they both already have players they’re significantly invested in at the position, but a lot would have to change for the Dolphins and the Chargers to feel comfortable passing on a top quarterback in the draft.
Guy Boston Sports draft expert Andrew Nason noted on Twitter that he believes there’s “no shot Herbert falls to [the Patriots at] 23, but if he did, he’s the right pick.” Nason has Herbert going 5th to the Miami Dolphins in his latest mock and said Herbert “has the tools and intelligence to become a great starting quarterback.”
Photo: (Mark J. Terrill – AP Photo)