Justin Herbert became the first Chargers' player to win Offensive Rookie of the Year honors since 1974. Herbert, as the sixth overall selection, was the third quarterback off the board behind Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa. Instead of Tyrod Taylor, it was Herbert who ended up stepping into the big shoes of Philip Rivers and the rookie proved more than capable of replacing the Chargers' great. Herbert set NFL rookie records for total touchdowns (36), passing touchdowns (31), completions (396), multi-passing touchdown games (10), games with 300 yards passing (eight) and three-passing touchdown games (six). He was just 39 yards short of besting Andrew Luck's rookie record of 4,374 yards passing. The good news? Herbert knows, even after an impressive rookie campaign, there are plenty of areas of his game to improve. "I think if I know more about defenses, coverages, pressures, all of that, I think that better helps our team," he said.
With a new coach in Brandon Staley and new coordinator in Joe Lombardi, Herbert will be learning his second offense in two seasons. Similar changes have hindered other young QBs in the past from making the next leap.
2021 Bottom Line
We're not all that worried about the downside. Look for his talent, aggressive approach, an upgraded offensive line and a strong supporting cast to help Herbert overcome the change-related challenges he faces.