Where should Jalen Hurts realistically rank among NFL quarterbacks?

NFL: NOV 01 Cowboys at Eagles
PHILADELPHIA, PA – NOVEMBER 01: Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (2) warms up during the game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles on November 1, 2020 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA.(Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)

Chris Simms woke up and chose violence earlier this week when he published his annual top-40 QB ranking. To the surprise of literally everyone, the former NFL QB left one man in particular off of the listJalen Hurts. But where should Hurts rank if we’re all being 100% honest with ourselves?

At first glance, one would be forgiven for understanding the hesitation to rank Hurts as a ‘fringe-starter’ or higher given the array of weaknesses we saw in such a small sample size. There was a lot to like, but there was also plenty to work on. However, seeing names like Kellen Mond (a third-round pick this year) and Case Keenum rank above him is what caused fans to reach for their pitchforks.

I’m not going to re-order the list because then it just becomes a totally different conversation. The fairest thing to do would be to take all 32 projected starters and play a simple game of better or worse.

Which QB’s are better than Jalen Hurts?

Let’s get the easy ones out of the way. No matter how high we may be on Jalen Hurts, ranking him next to players like Patrick Mahomes would be a little bit silly. Realistically, the second-year QB shouldn’t be listed as a top-17 signal-caller. So that immediately rules out the following:

Aaron Rodgers
Patrick Mahomes
Tom Brady
Russell Wilson
Josh Allen
Deshaun Watson
Lamar Jackson
Dak Prescott
Kyler Murray
Justin Hebert
Ryan Tannehill
Matthew Stafford
Baker Mayfield
Joe Burrow
Derek Carr
Kirk Cousins
Matt Ryan

Now things get fun.

Which QB’s are worse than Jalen Hurts?

We can all agree that Jalen Hurts is a better quarterback than Taysom Hill. That at least pushes him to #40. How many others should he surpass? It’s subjective. If we go back to the cursed list from Chris Simms and tick off the names that Hurts would realistically outperform over the course of 16 games, the remaining pool of players drops a further 9.

*I’m also including every rookie QB since they’re yet to take an NFL snap. While a few were drafted in higher spots, they’ve all landed in very different scenarios. Some will start the year as a backup, others thrown into the deep end right away. There are still a ton of unknowns as a result…even for prized #1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence.

This brings us another 15 total players:

Kellen Mond
Zach Wilson
Mac Jones
Trey Lance
Justin Fields
Trevor Lawrence
Sam Darnold
Drew Lock
Marcus Mariota
Tyrod Taylor
Case Keenan
Taysom Hill
Cam Newton
Daniel Jones

As of right now, Hurts would rank in the 17-26 range…you know, as a serviceable starter. How far down that list he falls is where things really do come down to personal opinion.

The debatables

What about the remaining players? Where exactly does Jalen Hurts rank? Let’s find out.

Worse than:

Jimmy Garoppolo: Plagued by injuries, Jimmy G has clearly regressed over the past couple of years to a point where the Niners had to do something about it by drafting his future heir. However, the Niners offense has been running on practice squad fumes, much like the Eagles. As of right now. Garoppolo has more experience and if healthy, would probably be the more complete quarterback.

Ryan Fitzpatrick: He’s not getting any younger, but nobody can deny that until the Dolphins ripped the rug from under him last year, that he was propelling Miami to their best season in recent memory. If he can keep that fire burning, he’s the better quarterback as of right now.

Teddy Bridgewater: Bridgewater may be seen as a ‘bridge’ QB, but he proved last year that he still has plenty of gas in the tank and can be a player good enough to elevate the team around him and drag them over the finish line. For that reason and his years of experience, he sits above Hurts.

Tua Tagovaiola: This will probably change depending on who you ask. As of right now, Tua has the edge due to the fact he didn’t fumble 9 times last year and showed more composure in the pocket.

Jared Goff: He’s not a top-10 quarterback and outside of McVay’s system, he may be exposed. His 38 turnovers over the last two years rank first in the NFL and despite his previous path to stardom looking cemented, it looks as though the concrete isn’t set yet. However, he has shown that he can make all the throws needed to succeed and the Lions were more than willing to part ways with a much better QB to at least take a shot on his ability before using the bevy of draft picks to find a long-term future. Goff ranks ahead for now.

Ben Roethlisberger: Big Ben isn’t getting any younger and has proven to both push forward and hold back the Steelers within the same season on a couple of different occasions now. However, he’s still posting absurd numbers and keeping Pittsburgh competitive…to a point.

Better than:

Andy Dalton: Lol.

Carson Wentz: Oh, this is fun. We all know that Carson Wentz has the potential to be a dominant NFL quarterback. We also all watched his monumental collapse in 2020 and at the end of the day, he was benched for Hurts. To say he’s better than the QB he was benched for and shipped out to build around would be illogical.

Jameis Winston: Having been hidden under the blankets of the Saints for a while now, there’s a chance that we see a repaired Jameis take the field in 2021. However, he’s the ultimate YOLO machine and has just as much chance of losing you a game as he does of winning it. I’d take a QB who struggles to get off of his first-read and is more conservative, knowing it can be developed to complement his athletic prowess.

Final ranking: 23rd

Ah, that’s better.