The Eagles have a franchise quarterback in the NFL in Carson Wentz, who is still quite young. So why did they pick Oklahoma QB Jalen Hurts in the second round of April’s draft? Here are Hurts’ odds at Mybookie to win 2020 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year as well as the Eagles’ over/under win total.
The Eagles found their new backup quarterback when they selected Hurts with the 53rd pick of April’s draft.
Hurts was a star quarterback in high school in Texas and nearly went to Texas A&M but committed to Alabama. He will go down as one of the most successful NCAA quarterbacks ever.
In 2016 with the Tide, Hurts was named SEC Freshman of the Year, SEC Newcomer of the Year, SEC Offensive Player of the Year, first-team All-SEC and a freshman All-American. Hurts completed 240 of 382 pass attempts (62.8 percent) for 2,780 yards and 23 touchdowns against nine interceptions and ran for an Alabama quarterback-record 954 yards (previous standard was 791) and 13 TDs. Hurts set school single-season record with 36 touchdowns responsible for and he became the first Alabama freshman quarterback to start a game under head coach Nick Saban and first true freshman QB to start at school since Vince Sutton in 1984. Alabama won its first 14 games before falling 35-31 to Clemson in the national title matchup.
In 2017, Hurts ranked third in SEC in total offense (2,936 yards) and ninth in total offense per game (209.7 yards). He completed 60.4 percent of his passes (154 of 255) for 2,081 yards and 17 touchdowns with only one interception while rushing rushed a team-high 154 times for 855 yards (5.6 per carry) with eight touchdowns. Hurts got the Tide back to the national title game but was benched at halftime for Tua Tagovailoa.
Thus, the next season Hurts played good solider and sat behind Tua, but he replaced an injured Tua and rallied Alabama to 35-28 SEC Championship win against Georgia when the Tide trailed 28-21 when he entered game in fourth quarter.
With Tua set to start in 2019, Hurts went to Oklahoma as a grad transfer and finished as the Heisman Trophy runner-up and first-team All-Big 12. Hurts led the nation in yards per pass attempt (11.3; FBS record is 11.6) and ranked second in passing efficiency rating (191.2; fourth best in school history), yards per completion (16.3), points responsible for per game (22.9) and touchdowns accounted for (53).
He was third in the country in total offense (367.8 ypg), sixth nationally in completion percentage (.697; third best in school history), seventh in rushing touchdowns (20; second among QBs), eighth in passing yards (3,851) and 11th in passing touchdowns (32). His 5,149 yards of total offense (3,851 passing, 1,298 rushing) were second-most in Oklahoma history. Hurts was one of just two players nationally since at least 1996 to record 32-plus passing TDs and 18-plus rushing TDs in a season (Florida’s Tim Tebow had 32 and 23, respectively, in 2007 when he won Heisman Trophy).
Hurts’ passing motion, comfortability, and efficiency took a massive leap in 2019. He led the nation in yards per attempt (11.5) on non-play action passes, finished with Pro Football Focus’ No. 4 overall grade. He led college football, including running backs, in red zone rushing touchdowns (17) last season and can have a short-yardage role as a backup quarterback.
Hurts is a very good athlete with 4.59 40-yard wheels and will be a playmaker as a ball carrier in the pros. Hurts’ accuracy needs work, but he’s tough and avoids turnovers. He has been called similar to Tyrod Taylor.
The Eagles are looking at how the Ravens deployed Lamar Jackson during his rookie season (2018) alongside Joe Flacco and the way Taysom Hill is utilized by the Saints to complement Drew Brees as Philadelphia crafts a plan to incorporate Hurts’ skill set into its offense.
“It’s just something we’re going to explore,” Eagles coach Doug Pederson said. “He’s a quarterback first, but he has a unique skill set that he’s a great runner. Obviously, he throws well on the run. He has a unique set of skills that we’re going to take a look at.”
GM Howie Roseman likes to boast about the Eagles’ ability to maximize the NFL’s most important position.
“For better or worse, we are quarterback developers,” he said. “We want to be a quarterback factory. We have the right people in place to do that.”