It’s time to start thinking about life after Aaron Rodgers. The 35-year-old quarterback is still one of the most elite players in the NFL but he isn’t getting any younger. Green Bay needs to start looking for his successor. They may not need to look any further than Oklahoma’s starting quarterback, Jalen Hurts.
Hurts has had one of the most intriguing stories of any college player in the last decade. After leading Alabama to two National Championships in his Freshman and Sophomore year, he lost his starting job in the 2018 National Title Game to a more traditional quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa.
Hurts jumped onto the scene when he dominated for Alabama as a true freshman and won the SEC Offensive Player of the Year award. That season, he threw for 23 touchdowns, 9 picks, and 2780 yards with a completion percentage of 62.8%. Where he dominated the most was running the ball. As a freshman, he ran for 954 yards and 13 touchdowns. The next season, he threw 17 touchdowns and only 1 pick to go along with 2081 yards. He also ran for 855 yards and 8 touchdowns. Between these two seasons, he was able to have a 26-2 record as Alabama’s starter. Even with these great numbers, Hurts still played as Tua’s backup last season; leading to his transfer to Oklahoma.
Hurts’ debut with Oklahoma last weekend could not have gone any better. He went 20-23 with 332 yards and 3 touchdowns while also running the ball for 176 yards and 3 touchdowns. He joined Johnny Manziel as the only other quarterback in the last 15 years to throw for 300+ yards and 3 TDs and rush for 150+ yards and 3 TDs.
As of right now, Jalen Hurts is expected to be drafted between the 5th to 7th rounds in next year’s draft. Hurts is a very efficient, composed quarterback with a high football I.Q. who has incredible athleticism. He is a very strong quarterback who has a lower-body comparable to Saquon Barkley’s and can move like a wide receiver. Hurts is great at short passes and is improving each and every year at his medium range. He also excels at improvising and throwing the ball on the run. Jalen Hurts does have his flaws though, he needs to work on being a pocket passer which is perhaps the most important skill to have to be a successful NFL quarterback. He doesn’t have very good arm strength which in turn causes him to struggle with downfield accuracy. However, offensive guru and Oklahoma’s head coach, Lincoln Rielly, believes he can turn Hurts into a dominant passer.
Hurts is a guy who is very coachable and can always improve due to his athleticism. If the Packers drafted him next year, he could work behind Aaron Rodgers and be able to start when he is 24-25 years old. Even if he still has some flaws, I have confidence that Matt LaFleur can work with him and plan around his strengths. At the very best, Hurts can be an Alex Smith type quarterback with double the rushing attempts which is a quarterback a team can win with. What scares people, is Hurts turning into another Kordell Stewart who had very limited success as an NFL quarterback. Either way, drafting Hurts as the quarterback of the future will get fans excited for life after Aaron Rodgers.