Cream City Central 2020 NFL Prospects: Jalen Hurts

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Our last Quarterback prospect is Jalen Hurts of Oklahoma.  Since transferring from Alabama, he has put on a show for the college football world to watch and improved his draft stock throughout the course of the season. 

 

Strengths 

Sam Dehring

Jalen Hurts has an attribute that several NFL scouts look for today in a quarterback, and that is the ability to run the ball.  He is a built quarterback that uses his size to his advantage. Playing in the SEC for three years, Hurts held his own ground until getting benched for Tua Tagovailoa.    

This season, Hurts is on pace to beat his rushing record from three years at Alabama, which was 23, right now he has 19.  In addition, Hurts also had solid accuracy, averaging 62.9% at Alabama and 71.9% at Oklahoma. I think playing in the SEC really benefited Hurts and should help his draft stock quite a bit.  Oklahoma has been known for producing stellar QBs like Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray. Now, Jalen Hurts is next in line and he hopes to punch his ticket into the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft.  

Josh Amacher

Jalen Hurts is an exciting football player. His stats speak for themselves. Throwing for 31 Touchdowns to only 6 interceptions is sold for the senior quarterback. His passing yards of 3,347 is enough to place him in solid ground. I think his strengths or poise and clutch along with his arm really allow him to stand out amongst this year’s QB Class. 

One thing that stands out to me about him is his improvement from his freshman year to his senior year. I think he rebounded quite well from his Junior season being replaced by Tua, and then switching teams allowed him to renew his style of play. Oklahoma has given him a great opportunity to become an NFL prospect. Not many players rebound in the way Jalen Hurts has by putting up the stats that he has. 

Christian John

Jalen Hurts is very mature. He displayed his maturity when he lost his job during the 2017 National Championship Game. Then, rather than transfer, he sat behind Tua until he was needed in the 2018 SEC Championship Game, relieving an injured Tua. Hurts led 2 scoring drives, which were huge in the final result. He then transferred to Oklahoma for his Senior year. 

Hurt’s biggest strength is his rushing ability. He is big, strong and fast. He is one of the few true “home run hitters” with his legs as a quarterback. Hurts can give you a big play at anytime.  

Greg Williams

What a year Jalen Hurts is having for the Oklahoma Sooners. After transferring from Alabama, Hurts has 31 touchdowns, six interceptions, 3,347 passing yards on a 71.9 completion percentage, 18 rushing touchdowns, and 1,217 rushing yards. Also, let’s talk about the maturity Hurts has. After getting benched in the 2017 National Championship Game, then rolling as the backup to Tua Tagovailoa during the 2018 season, Hurts respected the decision by Nick Saban and wanted what was best for the team. That’s a kind of teammate players and coaches love to have.

Hurts is a big time player, meaning anytime he takes the field, a big play or something special can happen. Also, the size of Hurts is very impressive with how much he can do. It’s going to be tough for defenders to stop a 6’2, 219 lbs, shifty quarterback. 

Quin Voet

Jalen Hurts is the most interesting quarterback in the draft because he brings in a unique set of skills and experience. Hurts has played all four years and started three in two completely opposite offensive systems: Pro-Style at Alabama, and the Air-Rad at Oklahoma. In his one year at Oklahoma, he was able to exceed all expectations being a candidate for the Heisman Trophy for a bit because that system meshed better with his athletic strengths, like it did for Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray. 

Like those two, and because of the nature of the Big 12, Hurts is really good if you just let him sling it. This year at Oklahoma he threw for over 3,300 yards, 31 touchdowns, and 6 interceptions. In that system, he rarely made mistakes and torched opposing defenses in a lot of fast paced, shootouts. While his stats are a little shorter than Mayfield’s and Murray’s was in their last year, Hurts was insanely efficient completing 72% of his passes for 11.7 yards. Lastly, and I can’t stress this enough, he is deadly as a runner. This year he also rushed for over 1,200 yards and when you have the likes of Lamar Jackson and Josh Allen being successful on the league balancing their passing and running, it’s hard not to take a guy with those skills seriously.  

 

Weaknesses

Sam Dehring 

Jalen Hurts does not have much experience under center.  Most of the time, he runs out of the shotgun formation, so this is a major flaw that he will have to work to adjust.  He also is not much of a pocket passer compared other QBs like Jacob Eason. He is impressive off the edge, but tends to panic at times and make late throws.  His ability to throw the deep ball is good, but he does not have the arm strength that Tua and Herbert have.  

I would say Hurts is the least polished QB out of the five that we have analyzed.  He is very talented and has first-round potential, but his pocket awareness and late throws to receivers worry me, and there are some scary edge rushers in the NFL that could make him throw lofted passes down the field like he currently does.  Whoever drafts him will have to work with him to fix these issues.  

Josh Amacher 

Clearly his downfall from Alabama will have some sort of stain on his college career. Being replaced by a true Freshman during the National Championship game isn’t quite the best look. 

In terms of physicality, Hurts doesn’t have the same capabilities as say Tua does. He also lacks an accurate deep ball, something that may set him back in the NFL. 

Christian John 

Hurts is far from NFL ready. He has little under center experience. Whichever team takes Hurts will have to groom him. This process will likely take a couple of years before Hurts is ready to lead an NFL offense. Hurts’ biggest strength of running will have to be complemented by creative offensive coaches. However, Greg Roman and Lamar Jackson have proven they can make it work.

Greg Williams 

Similar to Justin Herbert, Hurts doesn’t have much experience under center due to threat pro-style offense Oklahoma runs. Hurts has the ability to be very accurate on the deep balls, but the arm strength isn’t compared to the top quarterbacks in the draft, and sometimes he’s very late on finding the open receiver, which in the NFL, those gaps for an open receiver can close in a blink of an eye.

One thing I’m not as concerned, but it’s worth noting, is taking hits. Earlier in the year, Hurts’ pocket awareness was not good as he took 13 sacks in the first five weeks of the season. After that, Hurts was sacked five times during the last seven games of the regular season, and was never sacked more than once in that span. On the bright side to this, Hurts has shown to be easily coachable. 

Quin Voet 

Hurts’ biggest weakness was his lack of success as a starter in the SEC. Yes, he was replaced by Tua, but he wasn’t playing well, and that’s what gave Tua the opportunity to take his job. Playing under center in a pro-style offense, against defenses a million times better than what he sees in the Big 12, is a huge question mark for him. As far as a passer, he does not possess the arm-strength of Tua or Burrow. This makes his deep throw and ability to hit receivers on time in the right place, not at an NFL level currently.  

 

Draft Projection: Jalen Hurts has helped his draft stock immensely after his performance this year at Oklahoma.  Where will he be drafted?  

Sam Dehring 

Jalen Hurts is first-round potential, most likely with the last few picks from teams looking to find their next successor.  I think Hurts could really benefit from going to a team like the Patriots and learn behind Tom Brady. I also see him being selected with a few second round QBs like Jacob Eason and Jordan Love.  Either way, wherever Hurts lands, I think it will be in the late first to early second round.  

Josh Amacher

I don’t think Jalen hurts is first-round material at this point. He was thrown out of the national title game against Georgia. He has had a solid rebound year with Oklahoma, but I don’t think it has been enough for him to jump out ahead of other quarterbacks in his draft class. Hurts is a very talented guy, I do think he is capable of doing solid things in the National Football League. It will all come down to which guys get drafted before him and how the draft board falls. I could see him being a guy that is drafted in the second or third rounds. I also see him being a guy who could be drafted in the first round. His situation really depends on how that draft board falls because of the downfall that he went through while he was playing football at Alabama.  

Christian John 

If a team sees what Baltimore saw in Lamar Jackson we could see them trade back into the late first round. This way they get an extra year to work with Hurts and develop him. However, I see Hurts as more of a Day 2 pick. He’s not a guy who’s going to be starting on Sundays next season and that will turn teams away and they will wait.

Greg Williams 

Remember how Lamar Jackson wasn’t getting as much attention, because of Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield, Josh Allen, and Josh Rosen? Well there’s a good chance that’s going to happen to Hurts, because of Joe Burrow, Tua Tagovailoa, Jake Fromm, and even Jacob Eason. Even in 2018, ESPN Mel Kiper Jr. said, “I don’t think — as a quarterback — I wouldn’t say he (Hurts) was an NFL quarterback prospect. But we’ll see if he could maybe make a change to another position down the road.”

There are some similarities between the two. I loved Jackson in the 2018 draft and I love Hurts. The other quarterbacks in the draft are going to get all the hype, but I wouldn’t sleep on Hurts. The game is changing and so is the play style of quarterbacks. I believe Hurts is first round talent, but is going to be taken late, but whoever picks Hurts is getting a steal. He won’t be a day one starter, but your future will look bright. 

Quin Voet 

Jalen Hurts is not an instant starter, but he may have the highest ceiling and lowest risk out of all the quarterbacks in the draft. When you pass for over 3,300 yards, not be a bad decision maker, and rush for over 1,200 yards, there’s something obviously there.

 It would be ideal for him to sit a couple years to polish his skills, while his coach builds a future team around him and develops an offensive system that suits his strengths. This makes him ideal as a late-first rounder to mid-second rounder as the fifth overall quarterback taken. Because his ceiling is so high, a team could easily overlook Fromm or Eason to make him the fourth taken QB. 

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