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Jalen Hurts: College Superstar to Franchise Quarterback?

Introduction

People can reach all they want by claiming that college football can be directly compared to NFL football, but it is an extravagant reach. The college game is so much different than the NFL game; a star college player may not succeed at anything at the next level because of his style of play, but some college players that are not great may be able to do something special at the next level. There are so many examples that I could use: Tim Tebow, Ryan Leaf, Vince Young, and Johnny Manziel. Those names listed above were some of the best college football players, and had some of the most memorable college careers, however if you take a look at every one of the players I listed, they didn’t succeed at the next level.


There are also some players that weren’t college standouts with a big name attached to them that ended up becoming a very good quarterback at the next level. You can take a look at guys like Bart Starr, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and the most obvious one being Tom Brady.

There are so many different types of players in college football with mobile quarterbacks, big arm quarterbacks, smart quarterbacks, and so many different quarterback styles in between. With quarterback talents coming out of college regularly that seem to define the ceiling for quarterbacks, the standards for a franchise quarterback are rising. You see guys like Drew Lock, Daniel Jones, Sam Darnold, and Mitchell Trubisky who are "franchise quarterbacks" for a short period of time before faltering. So the next question is which category does the new franchise quarterback for the Eagles, Jalen Hurts, fit in?


Jalen Hurts

Hurts was a very strong college player and was able to do great things at the college level for both Alabama and Oklahoma. Hurts started his college career at Alabama in which he showed great potential as a freshman. But what stood out to the college fans, and NFL coaches watching his film early on was his dual-threat ability to throw, and to run the football. The excitement he brought with his play style was appealing to many coaches, and players, but what was more appealing was his understanding and knowledge he brought with understanding the defense, and ability to be a leader for his teammates in the locker room.


I scouted Jalen Hurts out of Oklahoma, and was able to watch him at the Senior Bowl to get a better understanding of his skillset, the way he moves on the field, and to break down the fundamentals from the practices. The problem that came with Jalen Hurts however was that unlike Lamar Jackson and Kyler Murray, he doesn't have the elite speed that they brought when in college. Hurts has the ability to make plays with his legs, but he doesn't have the acceleration or the long-distance speed that they have. On top of not having the same speed as they do, Hurts also displays a weaker arm than they do, which limits his ability to make big plays and excel in the passing game.

Watching Hurts play reminded me similar to Drew Brees this past season from the arm standpoint. Hurts doesn't carry the ability to push the ball downfield, which means the playbook will have to adapt. Nick Siriani is looking to make a big impression in 2021 and turn the Eagles around after a disappointing 2020 campaign, but with Hurts at quarterback he won't be able to open up his playbook too much given that Hurts’ arm is a liability.


Last season they had a big arm quarterback with Carson Wentz, and the mobility was there as well, they just didn’t give Wentz a good surrounding cast, but with Hurts under center, who doesn't hold the same arm talent as Wentz, the Birds could be in for a rough season if they don't surround him with the talent he would need to excel.

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