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'An Elite Player': Justin Herbert Draws Praise from Radio Row Analysts 


Justin Herbert will enter his fourth season in the NFL in 2023.

Yes, time flies by quick in this league.

He's no longer a rookie (although he still has a Rookie of the Year award on his resumé) and has taken steps forward in his past two seasons with the Bolts.

As Herbert gears up for Year 4, spent some time at Radio Row before Super Bowl LVII to get a read of what impression the quarterback has made in three seasons.

Overall, it's a good one.

"He's viewed as an elite player," said NFL Network analyst Brian Baldinger. "He's got an elite arm, size, plays hurt like he did this year. I mean, there's nobody that doesn't like Justin Herbert."

Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus added: "The league thinks Justin Herbert is a great quarterback."

CBS Sports' Will Brinson: "He's viewed as a possible MVP candidate. I think he's viewed as one of the best young quarterbacks in football."

Take a look back at the best photos of Justin Herbert's 2022 campaign

Herbert has put up plenty of big numbers since being the No. 6 overall pick in 2020.

He has the most passing yards and total touchdowns by a player in their first three seasons in the league and has a Pro Bowl and playoff appearance under his belt.

As Baldinger mentioned above, Herbert has displayed toughness, too.

That was evident in 2022 when he didn't miss a game with fractured rib cartilage. He also battled through attrition to skill players around him, all while continuing to grow as a leader to ensure the Bolts made the playoffs this past season.

"Herbert's done everything you can ask and did it last year with fractured rib cartilage and without his Pro Bowl left tackle," said Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. "And without his top three receivers playing more than like a quarter of a drive together for half the season.

"Get him in this offense, get healthy, I think the sky is the limit for him," Pelissero added.

But if there's one thing experts want to see more of from Herbert, it's more wins from a quarterback who is 25-25 (including the playoffs) in his career.

The ironic point that numerous pundits made was that while wins are linked with quarterbacks, it's not always their fault outcomes don't go their way.

Herbert, the experts noted, is a fantastic player. But his profile will grow if the Chargers as a team can win more games.

"I would probably put him in that [top] five range … I do think that his overall success at winning in the postseasons and regular seasons, that kind of hurts his ranking, especially when you compare him with some of his draft mates, specifically Joe Burrow," said USA TODAY NFL columnist Tyler Dragon. He's going to be compared with Joe Burrow and Tua [Tagovailoa] for the rest of his career, whether they like it or not because they're in the same draft class.

"I think for him to take that next step, it has to translate to winning, because you can get a whole lot of stats and cumulate numbers, but what is your team doing? Part of when you look at quarterbacks stats, no other positions has this, but wins and losses as a starter," Dragon added. "Running back doesn't have that, wide receiver doesn't have that, no defensive position has that, but that record gets labeled at the quarterback position, so that's part of your legacy and how you're viewed as well, how much you contribute to winning."

Pelissero said Herbert's career, like all quarterbacks, will partly be defined by how the Bolts do in the postseason.

"I think he's looked at as one of the best young quarterbacks in the NFL, he just doesn't have the playoff wins like Joe Burrow does," Pelissero said.

"Could Justin Herbert be a top five quarterback in the NFL? Absolutely," Pelissero added. "Right, wrong or indifferent, quarterbacks are judged in part of team success."

Herbert will get to work with new Chargers Offensive Coordinator Kellen Moore, whose hire has drawn rave reviews across the league.

Brinson used the term "untapped potential" when describing Herbert but noted Moore should help unlock that.

Myles Simmons of ProFootballTalk agreed.

"I think we know that he's talented, it's just now, can the coaching really maximize that talent so that we are putting him in the same sentence as [Patrick] Mahomes, Burrow, Josh Allen," Simmons said. "He has that kind of talent, it's just that we haven't seen him be able to get to that level because the Chargers haven't been that good as a team yet."

Monson added: I think finding a guy like Kellen Moore and saying 'Go to work, let's get the best out of Justin Herbert we can' is huge for that team."

Herbert has thrown for 14,089 yards and 94 touchdowns in three seasons. And he's certainly made quite the impression early on in his career.

But those who watch Herbert from afar are excited and curious to see how fares in Year 4.

"You watch him in an NFL offense," Brinson said, "and you can see that this guy is clearly one of the best young quarterbacks in football."

Baldinger added: "Justin Herbert is viewed as an elite player that needs, like everyone else, you have to keep surrounding him with great players."

Take a look back at some of the best Chargers photos in monochrome from the 2022 season

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