Jalen Hurts to the Eagles: Hurts Can Be an Outlier
Jalen Hurts improved his draft stock this past season, and he was a player whose stock seemed to be on the rise in the final days before the draft.
It culminated in him being taken by the Philadelphia Eagles in Round 2.
What are the Eagles getting, and what kind of fantasy football impact will Hurts have if he gets on the field?
Hurts as a Prospect
Hurts spent his first two college seasons playing in a game manager-type role for Alabama before losing his starting job to Tua Tagovailoa and serving as a backup in 2018. In search of playing time, Hurts transferred to Oklahoma for his senior campaign, and he put up the best numbers of his career under the guidance of Lincoln Riley.
After averaging 7.4 and 9.3 adjusted yards per attempt (AY/A) in 2016 and 2017, respectively, Hurts posted an AY/A of 12.2 as a senior, which ranked second in the nation. He tossed 32 touchdowns in 14 games with the Sooners after throwing just 40 scores in 29 games through his first two years at 'Bama. It wasn't some dink-and-dunk show, either, as, per PFF, 46.18% of Hurts' throws traveled at least 10 yards in the air -- a higher rate than any of the other top quarterbacks in this class.
That highlights one of the best traits about Hurts -- he got better every season. Hurts improved across the board each season, with his rating coming via Sports-Reference.
As elementary as it sounds, it's a really good sign when a player gets better every year, and it's one of the things that gives Hurts a chance to defy the odds and have a successful NFL career despite not being a first-round pick.
Our Jim Sannes recently did study on the best traits to look for in non-first round quarterbacks, and Hurts checks a few boxes, sharing some similarities with Dak Prescott, a fourth-round pick who has been very successful for the Dallas Cowboys.
And we haven't even touched on Hurts' mobility. The dude ran for 1,298 yards and 20 tuds last year (plus one receiving score). That athletic ability will certainly help him in the NFL as well as give him a boost in fantasy, which we'll get to in a minute.
On the flip side, Hurts didn't play any defenses last year that finished ranked better than 18th by Bill Connelly's SP+ numbers, so the schedule was a favorable one overall. However, 50% of his passes came against top-50 defenses, a better rate than Justin Herbert (44.39%), according to Sannes. The other big negative with Hurts is his 6.34% sack rate from this last year, the worst clip among the top quarterbacks in this class.
In short, there's a reason Hurts didn't get taken in Round 1. That's not a death sentence for his NFL career, but make no mistake -- the odds are against him, since the majority of quarterbacks taken outside of the first round don't wind up doing much of note in the NFL.
Time will tell what kind of impact Hurts ends up having at the pro level, but as a player who constantly improved in college, we shouldn't be surprised if he winds up being a serviceable starter at some point.
Fantasy Fit With Philly
If Hurts gets to play, though, he will have fantasy appeal. Hurts' running prowess is a huge plus for his fantasy outlook. In addition to his 1,298-yard, 20-score season in 2019, Hurts ran for at least 800 yards and eight tuds in each of his first two seasons at Alabama. Quarterbacks who can run will always be attractive in fantasy, so if Hurts gets a chance to play, he'll immediately have streaming appeal in one-quarterbacks leagues.
With playing time a huge question mark for the foreseeable future, though, Hurts doesn't need to be on the radar in any type of redraft league. Like any other signal caller, Hurts would be relevant in superflex leagues if he gets playing time. He's not worth rostering in one-quarterback dynasty leagues right now, either, but Hurts makes for an intriguing end-of-bench stash in dynasty superflex formats as a player who could be a factor down the road, especially given Wentz's injury history.