With the Justin Herbert era officially beginning for the Los Angeles Chargers, when will the sixth overall pick start in 2020?
The Los Angeles Chargers will start 2020 with Tyrod Taylor as their starting quarterback and while the team has been mentioned as a possible landing spot for in former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, at some point in 2020, Justin Herbert will need to start.
Some may say that Herbert isn’t ready but the with the way the NFL works nowadays, all quarterbacks drafted in round one see some kind of action during their rookie season, even after they start the season on the bench, playing behind a veteran quarterback.
Last year, the New York Giants and Washington Redskins had rookie quarterbacks Daniel Jones and Dwayne Haskins on the bench for the first few weeks of the season, playing behind veterans Eli Manning and Case Keenum, respectively.
Coming out of Oregon, Herbert was labeled by many to be the third best-ranked quarterback in the 2020 NFL Draft class, behind Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa. While Burrow and Tagovailoa will likely be day-one starters for their team, Herbert will only see action when the coaching staff feels like he’s ready or when Taylor is no longer able to hold down the starting job.
Looking at the Chargers regular-season schedule, it’d make the most sense for Herbert to start in week six at home against the New York Jets. There are a few different reasons for starting Herbert in mid-October.
First, it’d give him five weeks to learn the speed of the NFL game and get a feel for how to prepare for a game and how defenses operate. Second, Herbert would get plenty of experience of what’s it’s like to play on the road. Over the first five weeks of the season, the Chargers play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New Orleans Saints on the road, two tough environments which aren’t ideal for a rookie quarterback to be making his first start in.
Third, over a four-week period from weeks six until nine, the Chargers play the Jets, Miami Dolphins, Las Vegas Raiders, and Jacksonville Jaguars, the team’s easiest four-game stretch throughout the entire season, with three of the four games being at home. The Chargers bye week come in during week 10 of the NFL season, meaning the coaching staff will then have a solid sample size to evaluate Herbert.
Overall, Herbert isn’t going to be riding the bench for all of 2020. At some point, he’ll need to get onto the field and start, it will just be a matter of when the coaching staff feels like he’s ready. A week six home game against Sam Darnold and the New York Jets would be the perfect opportunity to kick off the much anticipated Herbert era for the Chargers franchise.