Jalen Hurts held back every one of the teams he played for at Alabama, it’s the reason he was benched at halftime of the 2018 National Championship Game for a true freshman Tua Tagavoila. There were plenty of times where he was actively bad at ‘Bama, to the point where had they just had a capable backup it would have been an open-and-shut case for a benching.
You can throw stats at me all you want but there really hasn’t been a bad statistical season from an Alabama quarterback in a good two decades. And there’s no reason to elaborate on why his puffery numbers at Oklahoma are as artificial as they come.
Some pro-analysts sound somewhat bullish on Hurts’ potential in the NFL. You won’t find any such support in the college football community.
You’ll hear a lot of, “he’s a good kid,” “great for a locker room,” “hard worker,” “humble.” We all know what that means.
The following is every play that Hurts was involved in the first half of the aforementioned 2018 Nat’l Championship Game against Georgia. It’s a taste of just how limited their passing attack was with him under center — an offense with Calvin Ridley, and a freshman trio of Ruggs, Jeudy, and Devonta Smith. (plays are transcribed below)
If you don’t feel like watching them, no worries, heres a transcription:
- Throws a ball below the kneecaps of Calvin Ridley, who makes a nice grab to save a 4 yard gain.
- Designed run for 12 yards through a hole the size of a mack truck.
- Scramble, throws the ball away.
- Scramble for first down on 3rd and 8.
- Corner falls down, Ridley is wide open in the end zone, Hurts completely overthrows him. (Worth watching, it’s bad)
- Pass behind LOS, Scarborough picks up a few yards.
- Hurts Designed run, loss of two yards.
- Another Hurts run, gains 1 yard.
- 3rd and 8, completely underthrows an open Ridley on a 13 yard comeback. Punt.
- Went through one progression, tuck and run for 31 yards — it’s a nice run, good burst.
- Next play, holds onto the ball for a good 8 seconds and is sacked by Davin Bellamy, who had time to get pancaked and still sack Hurts IN THE POCKET. (Also worth watching).
- Pass behind LOS, Harris picks up 4.
- 3rd and 4, Hurts throws the ball away.
- Halftime. Tua replaces Hurts and leads the second half comeback.
There wasn’t a single ball that made its way downfield, unless you count a few passes he chose to throw away.
That’s pretty much his Alabama career in a nutshell — as risk averse as they come, only pushing the ball downfield when absolutely necessary, and only against the weakest opponents on the schedule.
Quite frankly, it’s a pathetic, indefensible pick. The front office is clearly in over their heads as far as player evaluation goes.
The book on Hurts is pretty simple. He’s completely underdeveloped processing a defense and running through more than a single progression. Any good plays at Bama came on busted coverage and designed runs, and Oklahoma’s offense is as simple as they get — RPO, bubble-screens, one-read and get the ball out. Any attempt to handle more than that on his plate ended in a throw-away at best, head-scratching interception at worst.
I think the bigger problem with this pick, however, has little to do with the incredibly low-quality of the player they drafted, and more to do with their decision to allocate the 53rd overall pick (in the deepest draft of the decade) at a position that last time I checked was pretty secure.
If you think Hurts is a good insurance plan for a Wentz injury you deserve all the disrespect and mockery that will likely be coming your way. It’s an indefensible opinion, and the only appropriate response is a condescending chuckle.
Perhaps the ONLY argument for Hurts as a prospect is if your truly believe he can be Taysum Hill 2.0. If you remember Hill at BYU, he was the heart of opposing teams’ game plans because he was often the best player on the field. Hurts was never close to the best player on the field, nor was he a focal point of defensive gameplans.
Again, keep the numbers to yourself, I know what they are. Turn on the tape and it’s hard to see Taysum Hill in Jalen Hurts. It’s just not quite there. Though I won’t rule out Doug’s ability to get creative with him.
Even if I concede his ability to be some sort of gadget player—there were actually much, much better gadget players on the board, but never mind that—it simply isn’t worth the value at 53. Not even remotely close.
I’ll snub my rant here because it’s pretty much more of the same.
All I’ll conclude with is that a) we didn’t add a competent backup QB… b) I don’t think we added a competent gadget player… and c) why the fuck would we want any of those things with our 53rd overall pick. Fire Howie.