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Chargers HC Jim Harbaugh extols QB Justin Herbert's athleticism: 'He could play tight end here. He could play edge rusher here.'

There's a Justin Herbert parade of compliments running through Los Angeles, and Jim Harbaugh is the grand marshal.

Still getting to know the Chargers franchise quarterback, Harbaugh continues to be astonished and believes Herbert's greatness on the gridiron would have no position constraints based on his astounding athleticism.

"The conditioning test was another eye-opener. Just when you think he can't go another rung on the ladder of my esteem, anyway, he finds another one," Harbaugh said Tuesday, via team transcript. "He smashed the conditioning test last Thursday. I mean, crushed it, like out in front with people trying to keep up with him. To the point, the athleticism and strength, really, he could play tight end here. He could play edge rusher here."

Checking in at 6-foot-6, 235 pounds, Herbert might not have all that much work to put in on his frame were he to endeavor to become a pass rusher or pass catcher. Chances of that happening are next door to impossible, of course.

Herbert's always possessed underrated athleticism and Harbaugh's always possessed a propensity for making bold statements. Regardless, Harbaugh professed that he was "starstruck" upon first meeting his new QB and the tribute train is still chugging along full speed ahead.

"He's been incredible," Harbaugh said. "I think it's probably the reaction that everybody has. From my standpoint, I knew he was really good, but you're right up next to him watching where you can feel the way the ball comes out of his hand. When it comes out, it's going a lot faster than you think, than it looks on tape. He's bigger, taller than you'd think watching TV. Every kind of sense -- smart. It's incredible the way he picks things up and masters things. Every detail, every small detail."

Harbaugh, a former first-round draft pick at QB like Herbert, was still coaching at Michigan, of course, when Herbert burst on the scene with the Bolts.

The No. 6 overall selection of the 2020 NFL Draft, Herbert threw for an NFL-rookie record 31 touchdowns and was voted AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in his first Chargers campaign. A season later in 2021, Herbert eclipsed 5,000 yards passing and racked up 38 TD tosses to earn his first and so far only Pro Bowl selection.

Over his last two seasons, though, Herbert's production waned and last year he dealt with career-low numbers, a five-win season and a season-ending finger injury.

Clearly, Harbaugh sees no cause for concern with his 26-year-old signal-caller.

"The arm talent is even better than advertised," Harbaugh said. "It's an exciting thing. I found myself just sitting at my desk at times, going, 'He's on our team!' You know it's not just in shorts because I've seen him do this in 11-on-11, NFL, padded football games."

Never one to lay it on thin, Harbaugh's had his thesaurus handy when it comes to his appreciation of Herbert thus far. Just how glowingly the new Chargers head coach is speaking of Herbert during the 2024 season will be most telling, however.

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