The Los Angeles Chargers took Justin Herbert No. 6 overall in last month's NFL Draft, signaling that he's clearly their quarterback of the future.
NFL teams generally insert top draftee quarterbacks into the lineup as quickly as they can. If a quarterback can emerge as a star early on, his small rookie contract can make him one of the most valuable players in the league. Not everyone starts from day one, though.
Throughout the off-season, the Chargers have signaled that they're comfortable going with last year's backup Tyrod Taylor as the starter. Taylor was previously the starter for the Buffalo Bills, leading the team to the playoffs a few years ago. Two years ago, he entered the season as the Cleveland Browns starter, but was quickly displaced by Baker Mayfield.
If Los Angeles has things play out the way the franchise wants, they're happy to see Taylor start this whole season. Former Chargers superstar LaDainian Tomlinson said as much on a recent episode of NFL Total Access. He thinks Anthony Lynn loves Taylor's ability to protect the football.
“If the Chargers had it their way, they would have Justin Herbert sit the entire season,” the former Chargers star said, via 247Sports. “I really think it depends on what the Chargers record looks like in November. I really believe Tyrod will start out the season. We’ve heard Anthony Lynn say he likes quarterbacks that are able to take care of the football.”
If the season gets away from the Chargers, who face an increasingly difficult AFC West slate, we may see what Herbert has. If not, there's a chance that its Taylor's team for the foreseeable future.
Tomlinson says that Herbert also has a disadvantage this year in particular, because of a potential delay on off-season activities.
“When you look at Justin Herbert, I really think he’s at a disadvantage because he doesn’t have the luxury of learning in an offseason. He can’t get on the field with his teammates and have the learning curve of how fast the defense is moving and how quickly do my wide receivers make breaks. He’s going to have to learn that in training camp and during the season. It’s going to take him a while to get up to speed on that offense.”
As of now, the Los Angeles Chargers open the preseason against the Dallas Cowboys on Aug. 16, and get things rolling in the regular season against another rookie quarterback, Joe Burrow, and the Cincinnati Bengals on Sept. 13. That game being on the road could also lend itself to Taylor getting the nod early on.