Are the Los Angeles Chargers interested in drafting Justin Herbert?

Pro Football Network Insider Ben Allbright is hearing chatter at the Senior Bowl that the Los Angeles Chargers have a strong interest in Oregon Ducks QB Justin Herbert.

With the 2020 Senior Bowl week kicking off in Mobile Alabama, the eyes of fans, media, and NFL personnel will turn towards a fascinating group of quarterback prospects in the 2020 NFL Draft. One of the signal callers on display is Oregon’s Justin Herbert, who, according to Pro Football Network Insider Ben Allbright, is a target for the Los Angeles Chargers in the upcoming draft.

This report from Allbright would reinforce what PFN Draft Analyst and Insider Tony Pauline mentioned during his Week 11 College Football Live Blog.

People familiar with the situation tell me 2020 will be different and the Chargers will address the quarterback position in the early rounds.

In his most recent mock draft, Pauline slated Herbert to be selected sixth overall by the Chargers. In that mock, he mentioned how landing in Los Angeles with the plethora of playmakers the Chargers have at their disposal would give Herbert a great system to develop in.

An important time for Herbert

The coming weeks in the NFL Draft process will be important for scouts and general managers as they continue to shape an opinion on Herbert, who has produced mixed performances in his time at Oregon University. Herbert was a much-discussed prospect this time last year before deciding to return to Oregon for his Senior Year.

Many people were hoping that Herbert’s performances in his fourth season with the Ducks would make him a can’t miss prospect in this year’s draft. However, there still seems to be just as many questions as there are answers.

Herbert started eight or more games in all four of his years at Oregon, finishing with a strong season in which he threw for 3,471 yards with 32 touchdowns and just six interceptions. Over the course of his four years in Eugene, he made 43 starts, throwing for over 10,000 yards with 95 touchdowns. However, the lack of dominant performances has led to some doubts when it comes to Herbert’s draft stock this offseason.

Herbert added more confusion to the mix after a somewhat strong display in the Ducks’ Rose Bowl victory. In his final collegiate game, Herbert managed just 138 yards through the air, but added three rushing touchdowns on 29 rushing yards, eclipsing what he managed on the ground in the rest of the 2019 season combined.

The end of an era for the Chargers

This latest report by Allbright – that the Buccaneers have a strong interest in Rivers – would further suggest that the Los Angeles Chargers and their long-term quarterback are parting ways this offseason. This potential split comes off the back of a disappointing 2019 season, in which the Chargers went from being considered to a potential Super Bowl contender, to finishing 5-11 and a top-10 selection in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Rivers has taken most of the blame for the underwhelming season, having thrown 20 interceptions compared to just 23 touchdowns, and it would now appear that the 2019 season may be the last time we see Rivers in a Chargers uniform.

Pro Football Network first heard of a potential split with Rivers and the Chargers back in December when Allbright reported that the team could be interested in Carolina Panthers’ QB Cam Newton or another veteran quarterback such as Marcus Mariota. 

If this offseason does see the end of the Rivers/Chargers relationship, then it will have been a mixed one. After making the playoffs for four consecutive seasons between 2006 and 2009, the Chargers have made the playoffs just once in the last five years, and just twice in the past decade.

Rivers would depart the Chargers after a 16-year career with impressive numbers. He holds the franchise’s passing records in yards (57,825), touchdowns (389), passer rating (95.0). Unfortunately, he was never able to deliver the franchise either a Super Bowl appearance or victory, and it now appears he will depart the organization without the opportunity to change that.

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