Jalen Hurts Is The Next Mobile QB Prepped To Dominate The NFL
Depending on who you ask, Jalen Hurts is either an easily projectable bust at the NFL level who got BENCHED in college or he is the next in the mold of hyper-athletic and mobile quarterbacks that is a perfect fit for exactly the direction that the NFL is heading. It is true that Hurts was benched for Tua Tagovailoa but it is verifiably untrue to believe that Hurts is not a legit candidate to be a stud fantasy football quarterback in the NFL.
Dispelling Jalen Hurts Myths
Jalen Hurts was the first quarterback to start as a true freshmen at the University of Alabama since 1984. He is actually a full year YOUNGER than Tua Tagovailoa despite having three full NCAA seasons starting and Tua only having two. As an 18 year old at Bama, Hurts posted 7.3 yards per passing attempt with 954 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns. Alabama did not lose a game until the national title against Clemson, a game in which Hurts averaged 6.3 yards per rushing attempt but was horrible passing the ball on 31 attempts. ‘
Hurts was even better as a sophomore, with 9.3 adjusted yards per pass attempt and 855 rushing yards and 25 total touchdowns. Alabama lost to Auburn but still made the NCAA title game in which the defining moment of Hurts’ career happened in a bad way. He was benched at halftime for Tua Tagovailoa, a decision by Saban that turned into a national title but laid the groundwork for Hurts to eventually transfer to the University of Oklahoma. In his junior season, Hurts actually had to come into the SEC title game for an injured Tua and lead the Crimson tide to a win before the team got dunked on in the CFB final again against Clemson.
The bottom line of Hurts’ career at Alabama should be this: there is not any shame in not being a better college player than Tua Tagovailoa. There is even a track record of transfer quarterbacks succeeding in the NFL. Gardner Minshew, Russell Wilson, Baker Mayfield, Cam Newton, Jacoby Brisset, Nick Foles, Jeff Driskel, Kyler Murray, and Kyle Allen are all college transfer quarterbacks who started NFL games in 2020.
It is also important to not understate just how dominant Hurts was at Oklahoma. His 11.3 adjusted yards per attempt was EVEN BETTER THAN JOE BURROW. He lead college football in that metric the same way that Kyler Murray and Baker Mayfield (two #1 overall picks) but was an even more insanely efficient rusher than either. In 14 games, Hurts rushed for 1,298 yards and 20 touchdowns. That matched Cam Newton’s final season at Auburn in touchdowns with about 150 fewer rushing yards. He finished college with 43 rushing touchdowns or seven fewer than Lamar Jackson.
So why is a quarterback with all of this not projected to go until the 3rd round of the NFL Draft?
According to Brad Kelly of the Draft Network, part of it is his problems with anticipating how plays will unfold. Kelly writes “The main thing holding Hurts back as a passer is his anticipation and willingness to throw the ball in unison with the route break of his receivers. He was unquestionably aided by the talent of his weapons, as they would find ways to remain open after their initial break. While Hurts was able to get away with his slow trigger at times last season, his internal clock will need to tick faster, as the pass rush will get into him more quickly and throwing windows will be tighter in the NFL”
However, not all film scouts agree with that analysis. Matt Waldman wrote about Hurts “Hurts is a better pocket passer than characterized. There are consistent examples from his film (23 of 27 from 9 games I charted) where he’ll deliver an accurate pass from the pocket under pressure with his feet firmly on the ground at the top of his drop or off a hitch or two. These pinpoint accurate and on-platform throws span every area of the field.”
Where Hurts Should Be Valued
Hurts’ projected draft position, if we use the odds from the DraftKings and FanDuel sportsbooks as an indicator, should be somewhere in beginning to middle of the third round. Luckily, we have really been spared from any stories about using Hurts as “running back” or wide receiver despite his amazing performance at the 2020 NFL scouting combine.
Using the Rotoviz Box Score Scout App and inputting Hurts’ draft capital as a top-75 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, we get some amazing comps for his future in the NFL and dynasty fantasy football.
Of that list, all but Boykin have started at least one NFL game and every single player has had multiple years on an NFL roster. The most likely outcome is that Hurts is drafted as a backup to begin with and likely ends up being successful when he does start because he fits the modern NFL like a glove. He is huge (for a QB), he is fast, he is agile and he is more accurate and decisive as a passer than his critics would choose to give him credit for.
Jalen Hurts is going to be a good NFL quarterback and there is perhaps no better investment you can make in dynasty fantasy football rookie drafts this offseason than selecting Jalen Hurts with your second round pick. Get Hurts on as many teams as possible and watch him become the next mobile stud fantasy football quarterback in due time.