Justin Herbert and six of his Oregon teammates will be in Indianapolis this week for preliminary job interviews at the NFL Scouting Combine.
The on-field workout schedule at Lucas Oil Stadium begins Thursday with the quarterback, tight end and wide receiver positions.
Herbert is projected to be the third quarterback selected, fifth overall by the Miami Dolphins, in ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr.’s latest first-round mock.
“I think the most important thing is to show that ‘it’ factor,” Kiper said on a conference call with reporters when asked what the 6-foot-6 Herbert can do to improve his draft stock. “To command a room and to have the aura about you that, if you walk through the room, guys say you’re a leader.”
Herbert led the Ducks to a 12-2 finish, the Pac-12 championship and a Rose Bowl victory over Wisconsin to cap a memorable journey at Oregon.
Kiper has LSU’s Joe Burrow, the Heisman Trophy winner who led the Tigers to the national championship, going No. 1 to Cincinnati and Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa, despite a serious hip injury, going No. 3 to Detroit.
Herbert, who won the Campbell Trophy as the nation’s top football scholar-athlete, completed 66.8% of his passes with 32 touchdowns and six interceptions.
The former Sheldon High three-sport standout also loosened up Utah’s defense with some designed runs early in the Pac-12 title game and ran for three touchdowns in the Rose Bowl.
“We know he has the athletic physical talent, the arm talent, the athleticism, the mobility," Kiper said. "We know how intelligent he is. We know what a great kid he is. Is he instinctive enough as a quarterback and does he have that ‘it’ factor, to be that incredible, off-the-charts competitor? That a lot of times separates the good ones from the average ones, the great ones from the good ones, the average-to-good from the busts.
“A lot of times it’s what level of competitor are you, and I think that’s what teams want to really find out here.”
Herbert’s NFL audition got off to a strong start last month when he was named the most valuable player of the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala.
The other Ducks looking to impress the NFL coaches and executives this week are offensive linemen Jake Hanson, Shane Lemieux and Calvin Throckmorton, tight end Jacob Breeland, linebacker Troy Dye and wide receiver Juwan Johnson.
The NFL Scouting Combine runs through Sunday. Oregon’s annual Pro Day is March 12 in the Moshofsky Center.
Follow Ryan Thorburn on Twitter @RGDuckFootball and email questions to email@example.com. For more Oregon sports coverage, visit DuckSports.com.