Is it time to acknowledge Jalen Hurts as an elite NFL QB?

Jalen Hurts
Philadelphia Eagles’ Jalen Hurts throws during the first half of an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

In the game of football, there are players that many hope will amount to something great and then there are those who a truly just special. There’s no way to pinpoint how special they are but usually, they are the most ridiculed ones. For the Eagles, the special player is in the most important position in the game: Quarterback.

Entering what was meant to be a make-or-break season for Jalen Hurts and the Eagles in 2022. Hurts found his footing earlier than most expected him to. Sure, it helps when you have two wide receivers that could be number one on any other team but don’t discount him if you didn’t discount Kurt Warner or even Peyton Manning.

Jalen Hurts
FILE – Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts looks to pass against the San Francisco 49ers during the second half of the NFC Championship NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 29, 2023, in Philadelphia. Jalen Hurts is set to sign one of the richest deals in NFL history, agreeing to a five-year, $255 million extension with the Philadelphia Eagles, including $179.3 million guaranteed, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press. The Eagles announced on Monday, April 17, “QB1 is here to stay,” but terms were not yet announced, according to the person who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the deal was not yet final. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, FIle)

Yes, Peyton was cerebral and had the arm to back it up but if you look at the numbers then you’ll notice that Hurts has similar traits. Jalen Hurts completed  66.5% of his passes a year after only completing 61% of them. He also went from having 9 interceptions in 432 attempts back in 2021 to only 6 interceptions in 460 attempts in 2022.

So why isn’t Jalen Hurts considered to be an elite QB? Many will point to the fact that he is a running QB first and a passing QB second but that’s not what the numbers told us in 2022. Jalen Hurts was the top pocket-passing QB in the NFL according to PFF. 

Eagles commanders
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver A.J. Brown (11) celebrating his touchdown with teammates during the first half of an NFL football game against the Washington Commanders, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Complaints about his arm? It’s all a myth. He received a PFF grade of 94.3 on passes thrown for 10+ yards. While it does help to have players like A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith, and Dallas Goedert, Hurts’ accuracy is the true hero. He’s placed the ball in places where only his targets can grab it.

His pinpoint passing along with this very intelligent approach to the game has helped Jalen to stand out from the rest but where does he truly stand among the top QBs in the game? He’s a winner who’s determined to keep on winning above all else. Sure, he received a record pay-day but he did so while allowing the franchise to stay flexible.

Jalen Hurts, a different breed?

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) runs past Green Bay Packers safety Darnell Savage (26) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

He’s an elite QB who is only getting better at the age of 24 years old. Again, it does help that he has a great team around him but look back at the two games he missed in 2022. The team lost back-to-back games and failed to clinch the number one seed and the division title until the last game of the season. 

Good QBs should be able to win with this roster but only an elite QB can elevate this team and put them in a position to be a true Super Bowl contender. With the NFC wide open many expect the Eagles to go back to the bowl but that doesn’t happen without number one at the helm.

AP Photo/Matt Rourke