Despite this being a heavy quarterback draft class with two of the best prospects we have seen in a long time, Jalen Hurts is still holding plenty of name value. A once starter at Alabama, Hurts transferred to Oklahoma where he put up big numbers and led a talented Sooners team to double-digit wins. Hurts college numbers look very productive, although most of his time at Alabama he was splitting reps with Tua. Hurts’ best weapon is his legs, where he rushed for over 40 rushing touchdowns and over 3,000 yards in his college career. He will need some work at the NFL level with his decision making and accuracy, but has plenty of arm strength and the mobility is something NFL
Jalen Hurts production is really in two parts. He was a part of a two quarterback system at Alabama, where he played well and won a National Championship. The 2019 season at Oklahoma is where we saw him as a true starter. Hurts ended up finishing second in the Heisman race, which was going to be tough to finish ahead of Joe Burrow. He played 14 games, threw for 32 touchdowns, and had over 3,500 passing yards. He also rushed for 1,298 yards and put up 20 touchdowns. Hurts was clearly used as a rushing threat, accumulating over 200 rushing attempts in 2019, and over 600 in his four college seasons. He even had a receiving touchdown last year at Oklahoma. Hurts has been lucky enough to play with NFL talented wide receivers at both schools, and playing under Lincoln Riley was going to be a big bump to his stats.
- Arm Strength
- Pocket Awareness
- Extending Plays
- Tough To Tackle In Open Field
- Deep Ball
- Will Push The Ball Down Field
- Throwing On The Run
There are a lot of things that Jalen Hurts does well, and we can certainly see the upside. Hurts has excellent poise out there, playing in big games with Oklahoma and Alabama. I wouldn’t put his decision making errors at times because the moment is too big. His arm strength is electric, as he can deliver some strong passes on the run or standing within the pocket. When the pocket collapses, Hurts has excellent awareness and can extend plays. This has a lot to do with his athletic ability and his footwork. The mobility part of his game is what is really exciting. He can get in the open field and make guys miss, but also deliver the blow down at the goal-line and have designed runs for him.
- Consistent Accuracy
- Forces Balls Instead Of Taking Easy Gains
- Locks Onto His Receivers
- Won’t Make All Progressions
- Consistent Mechanics
The college completion percentage is a bit misleading from his actual accuracy. There are at times where he sails the ball and his mechanics are not as clean. When he is in a good rhythm he is generally locked in. In the Oklahoma system he had strong receiving options and with his arm strength we saw him force the ball in and take unnecessary risks. This wouldn’t fly at the next level in comparison to facing Big 12 defenses in 2019. Having CeeDee Lamb certainly helped mask some of Hurts flaws at times, and we saw him lock onto Lamb quite a bit and look his way.
A Smaller Cam Newton
Obviously Cam Newton is a much larger player at 6’5, but Jalen Hurts plays like he is 6’5. We can see that in his run game, and he is quicker than Newton was in the open field. I also find Hurts to have better mechanics when forced outside of the pocket. Newton’s accuracy issues ultimately have been what has held him back at the NFL level. That could be the same for Hurts. Early Newton had a cannon, and then the injuries took over where we started to see a decline in his balls down field.
Jalen Hurts is likely headed for Day 2 of the NFL Draft. He can range from an NFL starter to a gadget player for an offense. Pittsburgh and Carolina are the two spots I like him to fall the most. Pittsburgh makes sense where he can sit for a year as Big Ben finishes out his career. He would also still have a role within the offense with plays designed for him. I also like this receiving core long term. The same goes for Carolina, as their situation is a bit more questionable as a true starter goes next season. However, Curtis Samuel, DJ Moore, Christian McCaffrey, and Ian Thomas would be a great core to fall into. While it would be odd for a team to draft Hurts without any plan to use his skillset, a landing spot on a team with no real desire to use a mobile quarterback would be less than ideal.
Skill Ratings + Breakdown
Vision – 6
The vision can be questionable at times for Jalen Hurts as he will often force throws into his wide receivers, and struggles in quickness going through his reads. Oklahoma gave him a lot of protection, and being forced to make quicker reads at the next level has to be an area he improves on.
Accuracy – 6
Hurts missed easy throws at times, and there was a lot of dependence on his wideouts to make plays. His numbers also benefitted from playing in two strong systems. He tends to float the ball a bit and facing better NFL defenses will make him pay for these mistakes.
Arm Strength – 8
There is plenty to like about his arm strength, and we have seen him make some ridiculous throws into tight spaces as well as downfield. While it can get him into trouble relying on it too much, NFL execs will take chances on this type of arm strength.
Pocket IQ – 7
While he can get out of the pocket prematurely at times, it isn’t necessarily a bad thing given his ability to make plays outside of the pocket. He showed the ability to move out when needed and his footwork is strong within the pocket. Of course with the speed at the NFL level, we will need to see if he translates well.
Mechanics – 7
Hurts’ mechanics are not all that bad, but consistency can be an issue. He has strong footwork and a clean natural throwing motion. Hurts also looks natural when throwing on the run and in odd angles.
Mobility – 8
NFL teams should be looking to utilize this skillset the most. While he is a bit smaller, Hurts has strong power and strength to run power and dive plays. He can also get outside the pocket and make defenses pay.