Akili Smith was the Cincinnati Bengals’ No. 3 pick of the 1999 draft after a stellar career at Oregon. He only played in 22 games and was out of the league after the 2002 season. Smith told NBC Sports Northwest Rip City Radio on Monday the Chargers should sit Herbert for a year.
“I wish I would’ve had an opportunity to sit the entire first year so I wish they’d do the same thing with Herbert,” Smith said on “The Brian Noe Show.”
Smith added that he thought Marcus Mariota, the 2014 Heisman Trophy winner, should have sat during his first season with the Tennessee Titans. Mariota ended up losing his job with the Titans and is now in a backup role on the Las Vegas Raiders.
“Everybody wanted Marcus to go in and play as a rookie. We’re talking about Mariota, the GOAT. ‘Ah put him in! He’s gotta play! He’s gotta play!’ No. I don’t agree with that and I’m going to stay firm with it,” he said.
Chargers coach Anthony Lynn told reporters there were high expectations for Herbert, according to The Oregonian.
“We drafted him that high to one day to be our franchise quarterback for sure, but I don’t want to put a timetable on this young man no different than I put a timetable on injuries because guys develop and they get ready at different times,” Lynn said. “Does he need a couple years? Or does he need one year? Or maybe he doesn’t need any at all. I don’t know. But they’re going to go in there and they’re going to compete and the best guy is going to play.”
For now, Lynn said Tyrod Taylor is listed as the starting quarterback.
“We’re going into this thing: Day 1, Tyrod Taylor’s going to be starting it off,” he told Sports Illustrated. “He’s earned that right. His teammates respect the hell out of him, he’s a leader on this football team. Our young quarterback’s gonna learn a lot from Tyrod Taylor. Tyrod Taylor’s one of the most respected players on our team, and he doesn’t say a whole lot, either.
“[But] it’s a competition, bro. There’s a competition at every position, not just this one. I can’t just say Tyrod’s gonna be the starting quarterback for the whole year if this young man goes in there and wins the job.”