Here’s a breakdown of Jalen Hurts prospect profile as told from a handful of draft analysts. All of these reports are from the past month leading up to the draft.
There’s some good and some bad in here, though not to be a spoiler, the indictment of his ability to process coverage and deliver the football is mostly all bad.
Find out for yourself.
Lance Zierlein, NFL.com lead draft analyst:
• Has issues sustaining rhythm as passer with so many off-schedule throws
• Inconsistent patience allowing routes to develop
• Slow recognition of early throw opportunities
• Leaves slants and crossers behind targets
• Finished with 38-4 record as a starter
• Tremendous leadership qualities
• Extremely tough and durable
• Shows poise to make plays late in games”
He gives a player comparison of Tim Tebow, which is uninspiring to say the least. Tebow was actually a much better passer coming out of Florida than Hurts is right now.
From The Draft Network (Crabbs) on decision making:
“Has had some nasty lapses when working through extended plays, would like to see more commitment to taking profits and not trying to force ball. Ball security as a ball carrier needs improvement. Can get caught throwing into zones on over routes and long developing plays.”
“Nasty lapses” is about as critical of a way of describing someone’s processing mistakes as can be.
TDN and Bleeding Green (SB Nation) writer Benjamin Solak compares Hurts to Jeff Driskell in his profile:
“Teams with running quarterbacks entrenched are most likely to value Hurts, as he provides a quality depth option in Year 1, in that he can execute a QB-run offense as one of the best running QBs in the league from Day 1, without prohibitively limiting your passing game… If Hurts is asked to start long-term at any point in his career, there will likely be significant growing pains as a passer that NFL teams are unwilling to swallow.”
If you draft a guy to be the QB2 because you still want to contend for a Super Bowl, you want him to also be a capable long term starter. I.e.: Foles can start long term in the right situation, McCown on the other hand likely wouldn’t be described that way. One guy helped us win the Super Bowl as a backup, the other pretty clearly wasn’t.
On top of that, Solak is essentially saying Hurts skillset makes more sense in Baltimore, Buffalo, maybe Arizona and Seattle. Our offense pretty obviously doesn’t maximize his value as a backup.
TDN’s Harris describes him as “a winner” which obviously doesn’t mean anything. Though I will concede he makes a good point here:
“In the NFL, his ceiling is a backup QB by year 2. He has a better chance of rostering in todays NFL due to the evolution of the position and the game overall. He doesn’t have a lot of responsibility at the line of scrimmage and this may increase his learning curve for an NFL offense.”
He’s sort of making two points at once; first, he needs a year to fully be ready to be a backup as a result of needing to learn the LOS responsibilities and in-play processing that he wasn’t asked to do in college; but also that he’s more NFL-ready than ever considering how modern offense can be simplified to a series of RPO’s—where he’s certainly pro-ready.
Both points are accurate in my opinion. He may be well underdeveloped as a pro-style passer, but there’s never been a better time to come into the league underdeveloped—as crazy as that sounds.
Pro Football Networks chief draft analyst Tony Pauline:
“Analysis: Hurts definitely made progress as a passer last season, and he read defenses better and made smarter decisions. He possesses the physical skills to be a starter in the NFL, but he still needs a lot of work on his game before he’ll be ready to take snaps on Sundays.
Negatives: Makes wide-open receivers struggle to come away with the catch. Does not possess a rifle arm or the ability to drive deep throws. Gets wild with passes when he tries to put extra speed on them. Does not find the safety or players in the back seven. Releases the ball off his back foot on occasion, which results in adverse accuracy. Struggled throughout Senior Bowl week.”
Pauline likes his athleticism just like most of do, but the book on his ability to read a defense, make proper decisions, and deliver good throws is clearly negative.
Walter Campbell, Walterfootball.com:
• Takes hits and doesn’t get hurt
• Very limited passer
• Struggles to see the field
• Poor vision
• Struggles to read defenses
• Slow to work through progressions
• Not an accurate passer
• One-read quarterback
• Arm strength is average
• Personality issues
• Pat White”
I mean holy shit that’s all bad. All of his “strength’s” are frivolous BS, and the weaknesses are staggering.
USA Today/For The Win columnist Stephen Ruiz:
“This is the ranking I’m most worried about getting @FreezingColdTakes’d about. I can envision Jalen Hurts developing into a reliable — and possibly good — NFL starter, but I don’t know if any team will have the patience to give him a chance… consideration as an early day three pick.
Hurts is who the Lamar Jackson skeptics thought the NFL MVP would be. The difference? Jackson was a far better passer and a more explosive runner. And unlike other dual threats who have made it in the NFL, Hurts doesn’t have a special arm.”
Ruiz makes great points about the Lamar Jackson comparisons. I think we all know why that comp is a low-hanging fruit, but Lamar is a far more electric athlete and was a more developed passer—that’s something even most Hurts proponents will concede. A 4.6-40, 125” broad jump, and 35” vertical is as pedestrian and un-explosive as they come.
I’m right there with the fear of ‘freezing cold takes’ but it’s better to have a take than be a coward. The reality is you don’t hold those opinions unless you do your homework—wouldn’t be putting it on paper if that weren’t the case.
I’m not sure what other points need to be made here. I really hope I don’t need to explain to anyone why an air raid offense is notoriously fraudulent, inflated, fugazi, however you want to put. I can give you examples of all the QBs who have come and gone from air raid offenses and most of them flamed out as a pro in spectacular fashion. And please, for your sake, don’t be the guy who mentions Mahomes from Texas Tech.
Jalen Hurts is as underdeveloped and uninspiring of a passer that has been drafted in the first two rounds in quite some time. This is an undeniably bad pick, and the Eagles front office is the laughing stock of the NFL right now.