Jalen Hurts, QB, Oklahoma
(percentile rank among all QBs at Combine since 1999, courtesy of Mockdraftable.com):
40-yard dash: 4.59 seconds (91st percentile)
Vertical: 35 inches (86th)
Broad: 10’5 (97th)
Hurts finished his Texas high school career as the nation’s top-ranked dual-threat QB. That, of course, is why he got a scholarship at Alabama and started right away. Hurts got the Tide all the way to the national-title game (before losing to Clemson), earning 1st-team All-SEC, conference freshman of the year and freshman All-America honors. He was also a finalist for the Maxwell Award (nation’s top player).
Hurts piloted Alabama to the championship game once again at the end of his 2017 sophomore season, but he turned the reins over to Tua Tagovailoa at halftime and watched the new freshman lead the Tide’s comeback title victory over Georgia.
Hurts then spent his junior season backing up Tagovailoa. He appeared in 13 of 15 contests but only for minimal duty. Hurts attempted just 30 passes across 6 SEC regular-season appearances, with 10 of those coming in the Week 3 blowout win over Ole Miss. Hurts did take over for an injured Tagovailoa in the 4th quarter of the SEC championship game and lead a comeback victory over Georgia by going 7-of-9 passing for 82 yards and a TD passing, plus a rushing score. But then the starter returned and pushed the upperclassman back to the sideline.
Hurts transferred to Oklahoma after the season as a grad student, allowing him to play right away in 2019 rather than sit out a year. Hurts no only delivered terrific passing numbers in his lone Sooners campaign. He also served as the team’s leading rusher, averaging 16.6 carries, 92.7 yards (including yards lost via sacks) and 1.4 TDs per contest. Hurts was a finalist for the Maxwell Award, the Davey O’Brien Award (top QB) and the Heisman Trophy. He trailed only Heisman winner Joe Burrow in passing efficiency and ranked 7th in the country in rushing TDs.
(Courtesy of WhatsOnDraftNFL)
Games watched: Kansas State 2019, Texas 2019, Oregon 2019, Houston 2019
If you’re looking for a breakdown of what will or won’t make Jalen Hurts a successful NFL QB, then you should probably look elsewhere. I have no idea if the guy can or will develop into a long-term pro. Really, none of us does.
Here’s what I know about Hurts: If/When he does get a chance to start for an NFL team, I want to have him in some fantasy lineups.
The mobility is obviously the big selling point. Hurts got plenty of RPO exposure even in the few games I watched, an area that has joined more NFL offenses in recent seasons. He runs with power up the middle, but also presents enough speed to bounce it outside and get the edge.
Hurts’ mobility also manifests in his ability to avoid pressure in the backfield and extend plays. Sometimes that leads to holding the ball too long or making ill-advised downfield throws. But we’ll take that risk when it comes with the increased chance for big plays.
Hurts obviously has things to work on. He doesn’t consistently set his feet before throwing, even when he has space and time to do so. But he also displays the arm strength to make throws with poor footwork -- and at least the intermittent accuracy to deliver some impressive strikes on the move.
Hurts needs work on his deep passing but isn’t afraid to throw the ball into dangerous spots and trust his receivers to make plays. The Oklahoma offense appeared to often rely on quick reads rather than asking him to work through progressions. But it’s also the system that produced the previous 2 Heisman winners and #1 picks in the NFL Draft.
(And as soon as I can get a GIF-making site to work for me again, I’ll add some samples to this section.)
Hurts isn’t the QB you draft in dynasty if you’re looking for a 2020 option. He’s a reserve with big upside in the right situation.
The rushing alone makes Hurts worth a fantasy shot. He posted Lamar Jackson/Cam Newton numbers in his lone Oklahoma season, following strong ground production at Alabama. Hurts then delivered Combine testing that supported his rushing ability. His list of comparable players on Mockdraftable included:
But Hurts probably also brings more passing upside than most realize. For starters, he tallied 9.1 yards per pass attempt career to go with a 4-1 TD-INT ratio across 2 stops (80 TDs vs. 20 INTs).
According to Josh Hermsmeyer, Hurts’ 2019 produced the 5th-best completion percentage over expected (CPOE) among Power 5 QBs since 2011.
Hurts’ landing spot in the NFL Draft could change his outlook for dynasty rookie drafts. But he’ll be worth a look from Round 3 on in rookie drafts regardless of where he winds up.