Jalen Hurts might have struggled in yesterday’s loss to the Giants, but the game actually marked a pretty important milestone in his career. It was Jalen’s 16th start as an NFL QB, meaning that he has now started 16 games in total for the Philadelphia Eagles since his debut against the New Orleans Saints last year.
Now that Hurts has a full NFL season under his belt, I thought it would be a good time to look at how he would have compared to the QB’s of 2020 to get a rough gage on his progress.
Jalen Hurts: The Passer
Passing completion percentage: 57.9%
Rank: Just above Carson Wentz 57.4%, very bottom
This shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. Hurts has struggled with accuracy throughout his NFL career thus far and those troubles were only further highlighted during the opening stint of 2021 where he had very little play-calling help from his Head Coach.
However, between weeks 8-10, his completion percentage sat at an average of 64.5%, which is much better. Granted, the Eagles started running the ball like their lives depended on it and he only attempted a measly 31 passes in that span, but that opens up a very different debate.
If the Eagles aren’t trusting him to throw, is the offense really sustainable?
Passing yards: 3,354
Rank: 18th, behind Baker Mayfield
Again, this was kind of expected. Jalen Hurts isn’t a gunslinger and shouldn’t really be evaluated as such. It’s actually kind of impressive that he ranks this highly. Let’s not forget he was left off of a top-32 QB’s ranking at the beginning of the year.
Rank: 19th, above Carson Wentz
It’s not overly impressive and it’s not deeply concerning. Middle of the road is pretty solid, but if it’s a franchise quarterback the Eagles want, they may want to see a bit of an uptick here.
Interestingly, Hurts excels down in the red zone and has thrown 10 of those 18 touchdowns from within the 20-yard mark and has only tossed two interceptions. That’s 10 touchdowns this season by the way.
Rank: 23rd, tied with Phillip Rivers and Sam Darnold
While this is pretty poor, we have to remember 3 of these came last game and before that he only had 3 this season. That’s a sharp decrease to his rookie season struggles.
In fact, ball security has been a real area of improvement for Hurts, who fumbled the bag more than your hopeless friend in the DM’s last year. Turnovers have been a real non-factor for the most part and that has to be commended.
Jalen Hurts: The runner
Rushing yards: 967
Rank: 2nd, behind Lamar Jackson
Rushing touchdowns: 11
Rank: 2nd, T-Kyler Murray
This is where the real strength of Jalen Hurts comes into play. Sitting behind only Lamar Jackson in rushing yardage and touchdowns, Hurts has been the motor driving the Eagles’ rushing offense and at this time remains their rushing leader by a considerable margin.
The real question now is whether or not Hurts can develop as a passer like Lamar did during his second year. It’s amazing that his athleticism provides such a dangerous element for defenses to be wary of, but if he can’t hurt them consistently through the air, teams will happily concede a hefty amount of rushing yardage knowing that they can make Hurts throw from behind and gain an advantage.
Hurts has progressed as a passer in year two and that much is clear. Is it enough to convince a front office with three first-round picks to avoid drafting his replacement? That all depends on how much the word ‘patience’ factored into their decision to hire Nick Sirianni as Head Coach and whether or not it will be replaced with an insatiable greed by a GM who seems to constantly have an itch to win now.
Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire