Now that the Eagles are one QB less of a controversy that riddled them all last season, it seems as if Jalen Hurts could be facing an uphill battle to win the world over. Since the departure of Carson Wentz, there have been countless debates surrounding Jalen Hurts. Some of these are logical while others are not. It’s time to do some myth-busting!
Was Jalen Hurts drafted because of Wentz scares?
Let’s be honest for a second. While Carson’s injuries down the stretch could’ve startled some folks, I don’t believe for a second that it scared the Eagles to the point of drafting a QB in the second round. There’s no way. Former Eagles wide receiver, Jason Avant, came out and stated that he believes the rift between the front office and Wentz started back in 2018. Carson Wentz was playing injured for most of the season with a fractured back until the organization decided to sit him down so he could heal in favor of bringing the world’s greatest backup back onto the field.
This could’ve been the beginning of the end of Wentz’s time in Philly. Shortly after that season, the team decided to move on from Nick Foles which led to a huge debate in the city as to who the Eagles should’ve kept. The adversity only got worse from thereon.
In 2020, they brought in a 22-year-old rookie that drafted in the second round instead of aiming for more firepower to help their “franchise QB”. Yeah, it doesn’t look like the Eagles were as “all-in” as many thought they were. The offense never evolved, the blueprint never came to fruition, and what was supposed to help Wentz ultimately led to his demise.
Can Jalen Hurts become a franchise QB?
Let’s talk about the term ‘franchise QB’ for a second. It doesn’t mean what it used to. Franchise QB’s used to be the guys who stuck it out with one team for their entire career, through the good and the bad. Nowadays, it simply defines a quarterback worthy of giving up the farm to acquire, giving them a huge rise in power. For example, Tom Brady to the Bucs and Deshaun Watson to anywhere that isn’t Houston.
So, does Jalen Hurts have what it takes to be an elite QB as opposed to a franchise one? Absolutely. He has the intangibles that you can’t teach. He has more heart than the next guy will. His leadership at 22-years-old is undeniable and his desire to win is unmeasurable.
A perfect example of this was presented to us in the 2017 National Championship game. Hurts was benched in favor of Tua Tagovaiola after a great sophomore season at Alabama ended with a poor performance on the big stage. Tua then led the Crimson Tide to an emphatic comeback and snatched the starting role for good. Many expected Hurts to transfer somewhere else with the aim of regaining a starting role. Instead, he stayed. Hurts would later open up about this decision, selflessly citing that he didn’t want to let his team down.
He handed the Carson Wentz saga with class, has already scheduled workouts with wideouts this offseason, and has been visibly putting in work to prepare for his sophomore season. Say what you want about his play on the field, but there’s no denying his character away from it.
The deep pass
Another huge debate this season has involved the arm talent of Jalen Hurts. Many have questioned his accuracy and deep-pass ability. I personally feel like his accuracy isn’t that much of a big question mark.
Last year, Jalen came into the game passing to receivers that he didn’t have much chemistry with and still provided a spark. It’s important to remember that he practiced with the scout team for the majority of his rookie year.
Jalen Reagor should be in line for a big season next year but as I mentioned in yesterday’s article, keep your eyes on Quez Watkins. Watkins didn’t bond with Wentz last season which led to his bond with Jalen Hurts.
Hurts had very little in-game chemistry with his playmakers but that didn’t stop him from making plays. According to PFF, 46% of Jalen Hurts’ passing attempts last season were thrown for 10+ yards. That was the highest rate in the NFL. In a ‘simplified offense’, would Pederson have really drawn up those plays if he didn’t have trust in the arm talent of Hurts?
His deepest past went for a huge 81-yard touchdown to DeSean Jackson against the Cowboys in week 16. The deep ball shouldn’t be a concern for Hurts as long as he gets the right reps this offseason and has the right recipe of playmakers at his disposal.
There are some legitimate concerns with Hurts. His instinct to peel off of his first read and take off is going to have to be coached, but that’s the thing – it can be coached. The vital intangibles are there and that’s an overwhelming positive for the Eagles.
Running QB’s don’t last
This is a tricky one. Look at the career of RGIII for example, he went from a promising All-Pro to disappearing into a backup for Baltimore after suffering several injuries because he couldn’t adapt to running out of bounds. Donovan McNabb even changed his game from running everywhere to passing in the pocket and only moving when needed. Conversely, there is a balance. Russell Wilson is a great example of a dual-threat QB, he has the arm talent and the escapability to give defenses fits all day.
Hurts has that ability whether you want to admit it or not. Don’t judge his arm talent on the sample size of four games with a poor offensive scheme, but look at his ability to make quick decisions and protect himself when he’s on the move. The Eagles lived in fear for years whenever Carson was on the move due to the first two injuries being the result of him running out of the pocket.
It’s no secret that Lamar Jackson regressed a bit last season as defenses adjusted to him and his style of play. Hurts isn’t Jackson. He’s quicker with a better arm. Hurts relies on his throwing ability more than his running. For Jackson, his best ability is running. Not knocking on Lamar at all because he can sling it when he wants but that’s the difference between the two young QB’s.
If Hurts can refine his craft and continue to evolve as a passer, it doesn’t matter if running QB’s last or not, because Jalen Hurts will.
Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire