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Season grades: Quarterback

The Oregon Ducks (8-4) were looking for a major improvement from 2017. Under Willie Taggart’s lone season in Eugene, the Ducks underachieved in the win column and overachieved in the penalty column, something first year head coach Mario Cristobal was determined to rectify.

With an end of the year Redbox Bowl berth against Michigan State on the horizon, the Ducks have a chance for a two-win improvement, and bowl win to propel them into their season opening game against Auburn.

Key to this year’s team was the play of quarterback Justin Herbert. Heading into the season, pundits had Herbert ranked as the No. 1 QB prospect in the 2019 NFL draft, something that he justified early in the season with a series of excellent performances. The second half of the season Herbert came back down to earth following a bruised shoulder and the appearance of much better defenses.

In this edition of DSA Grades and Analysis we take a look at the play of the Duck quarterbacks during the regular season.

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Justin Herbert was deadly early in the season but less accurate in the second half
Tom Corno
Season QB Statistics
Name Comp-Att-Yards Passing TD/INT Rush att-Yards Rushing TD's

Justin Herbert

221-371-2985

28/8

67-173

2

Braxton Burmeister

5-10-43

0/0

7-29

0

Tyler Shough

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Justin Herbert – Herbert has all the measurables the NFL is looking for. At 6-foot-6, 235-pounds, he has the frame to see over and around professional linemen, and the thickness to take the punishment NFL defenses will subject him to.

His arm is excellent, and he can make all the throws on the tree. The only question at this point is accuracy. Early in the season he was hitting everybody in their hands, and the only incompletions seemed to be drops. In the latter half of the season that changed. He started making occasional errant throws, and several games he was simply not very sharp.

Nonetheless, Herbert was one of the top quarterbacks in the nation in 2018, but clearly showed that another season of college football would help him develop consistent accuracy.

Braxton Burmeister – The best things about Braxton Burmeister at quarterback are that he knows the offense well and has the respect of his teammates. In running situation, Burmeister did an adequate job in limited snaps.

The big difference between Burmeister and Herbert is arm strength. When you ask the Duck receivers about it, they tell you that the ball simply gets to them quicker from Herbert. The Oregon coaches are aware of the situation. Of the 76 plays Burmeister was in for this season, he only made 11 passing attempts.

If you are a defense, you know there is an 85% chance that if Burmeister is in the game, the Ducks will run the ball.

Tyler Shough – Shough did not make any passing or running attempts in 2018. Of the eight plays he was in, he handed the ball off eight times.

That said, Shough is the probable heir-apparent to Herbert. He has an excellent arm and frame, and as he continues his development and understanding of the playbook and college defenses, has the tools to be an excellent quarterback for the Ducks.

Grades: Justin Herbert
Name Passing rank Passing grade Overall rank Overall Grade

Justin Herbert

20

B+

28

B

Rank is out of 165 quarterbacks graded nationally per Pro Football Focus