NFL Analyst and former NFL signal caller Chris Simms has been one of the more outspoken quarterback critics over the past few years. With almost any quarterback list he drops, he gets considerable push back for a handful of rankings.
On Wednesday, Simms released his top-40 quarterbacks currently playing in the NFL. Every team’s starting quarterback made the list, with the exception of one — Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts.
On the “Chris Simms Unbuttoned” podcast, he dove into why he left Hurts off the list.
I didn’t do it to create any headlines, but the way I look at it, he’s not as good as any of the 40 guys I’ve got here. Again, I understand his running — it’s good. Throwing, I still have major concerns about. And I can show you tons of throws on film and just go ‘Listen, this is not acceptable in the NFL, some of these throws.’ So there’s a lot more I’ve gotta see from that aspect.
I look at Jalen Hurts as kinda still a project, and a starting quarterback a little bit — I don’t mean this to be disrespectful — by default, because of the weird situation in Philadelphia. Not necessarily that he like, grabbed it by its horns and just blew everybody away… ‘Oh my gosh! Wow! He’s so good, we gotta keep him on the field!’ No…I’ve still got way too many questions before I can throw him on here yet.“
It’s hard to argue with the main point Simms makes here. Hurts still has a lot of work to do to become a legitimate NFL starting quarterback. He was a bottom feeder in terms of accuracy last season, and his inability to quickly diagnose coverage and make a decision with the football was concerning.
Simms also pointed out numerous times on Twitter, this is not a list based on potential or career achievements, it’s a list based solely on quarterback play with a generic set of weapons around him. So for those saying Hurts has the potential to be, say, top-20 on this list, I don’t think many would disagree with you. But he isn’t close to that yet and Simms’ ranking reflects that.
While I mostly agree with Simms assessment of Hurts, I don’t full agree with his absence on this list. Yes, Hurts throwing ability needs work, but his running ability certainly helps his team more than Simms gives him credit for.
Hurts’ ability to make plays with his legs is more valuable than what Case Keenum (40), Drew Lock (33), or even Andy Dalton (29) brings to the table with their arm. If this was a ranking based on quarterback’s throwing ability, then yeah Hurts probably doesn’t belong. But in today’s NFL, quarterbacks with mobility bring another dimension to their respective offenses — those without the athleticism just don’t open up the playbook as much.
At the very least, I’d put Hurts over Keenum at 40. He had a grand total of 10 passing attempts last season. The year prior, he went 1-7 as the starter in Washington. Hurts is better than that, even at this point in his young career.
Despite the noise from analysts like Simms, Hurts has a golden opportunity to prove a lot of doubters wrong this season. We’ll just have to wait and see if he rises to the occasion.
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