Sports

Chargers take Oregon QB Justin Herbert 6th

Tom Telesco is hoping Justin Herbert can be just as good as the last quarterback the Chargers drafted out of
Oregon.

Los Angeles selected Herbert with the No. 6 pick of the NFL draft Thursday night. He is the first Ducks QB taken by the Chargers since they took Dan Fouts in the third round in 1973. Fouts led the franchise to four playoff trips and three division titles in a 15-year Hall of Fame career.

 

''This is a special opportunity. Words can't describe how excited and thrilled and fired up I am for this,'' Herbert said.

The Chargers were in the market to take a quarterback in the first round for the fourth time since 1967 after they announced in early February that they would not re-sign Philip Rivers, who started 235 consecutive regular-season and playoff games over the past 14 seasons.

 

Herbert started 42 games at Oregon, compiling a 29-13 record with 10,541 passing yards and 108 total touchdowns. He led the Ducks to the Pac-12 championship last season and a win over Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl, where he ran for three touchdowns and was named the offensive MVP. He thew for 32 touchdowns and only six interceptions
in 14 games.

 

Herbert has shown the ability to excel in play action, but questions remain about his decision-making and accuracy. He boosted his stock at the Senior Bowl, completing 9 of 12 passes for 83 yards and a touchdown. Herbert said he has been trying to refine his mechanics leading up to the draft.

 

Telesco has had his eye on Herbert for a while. He was at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Nov. 2 when Herbert went 21 of 26 for 225 yards and three touchdowns in a 56-24 win over Southern California. ''He brings us a lot with his combination of physical skills and style of play is intriguing to us,'' Telesco said. ''He is a big, fast dual-threat quarterback with room to grow.''

 

There won't be any pressure for Herbert to come in and start immediately. Tyrod Taylor is likely to be the Chargers starter going into their first season at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, giving Herbert time to learn and develop.

 

Fouts said in a telephone interview that the Chargers made the right choice with Herbert. ''He's smart, big and has a strong arm. He's fearless. He's got all the tools you can imagine,'' he said. ''The way I look at it he's still young and the sky's the limit. He's going to a team with a lot of talent at receiver (Keenan Allen and Mike Williams) along
with a good tight end and running game.''

 

Herbert was the third quarterback taken in the first six selections Thursday. Cincinnati selected LSU's Joe Burrow with the first overall pick and Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa went fifth to Miami.

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