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How far will Justin Herbert climb in the 2020 NFL Draft?

Quarterbacks remain the most valued position in the NFL. Could that move Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert up the draft board?

Oregon Ducks quarterback Justin Herbert against the Arizona State Sun Devils in the first half at Sun Devil Stadium. Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

One of the big storylines of the 2019 college football season prior to two weeks ago was quarterback Joe Burrow vs. quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. The SEC stars were competing for the Heisman Trophy, a chance at a National Championship, and likely the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Tagovailoa dislocated his hip two weeks ago, and changed all those storylines. Burrow has now replaced him as the heavy Heisman Trophy favorite, a strong likelihood of going No. 1 next April, and ahead of Alabama as a favorite to win the national title.

Tagovailoa is now slipping in mock drafts, and one has to wonder how many quarterbacks will go ahead of him next April. Burrow is all but certain if he stays healthy, but Oregon’s Justin Herbert and Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts are in the mix to go before Tagovailoa.

Sporting News columnist Vinnie Iyer released his latest 2020 NFL mock draft, and Tagovailoa drops out of the first round entirely. Joe Burrow goes No. 1 to the winless Cincinnati Bengals, Justin Herbert goes No. 4 to the Miami Dolphins, and Jalen Hurts goes No. 17 to the Tennessee Titans.

Herbert has had an up-and-down career in college. Herbert was considering going pro a year ago, but decided to return for one more year of college. Herbert has had some dips along the way, but he’s putting up big numbers and has retained his first round status. Given the critical value of quarterbacks in the NFL, it was unlikely he’d completely tank his draft stock — but there was a certain risk in heading back to college.

The question now is just how high he goes in the draft. The Dolphins badly need a quarterback, but you have to wonder if John Elway might make a move to find an answer. Joe Flacco and Brandon Allen are not the long-term future, and Elway continues to struggle finding the most important position on the field. Would Herbert be the guy he targets if he slips past Miami? If not, would he grab Hurts or roll the dice on Tagovailoa early in the first?