The Most Valuable Backup in the League.

When the Eagles picked Jalen Hurts 53rd overall in the 2020 NFL draft, it surprised many. There was an extremely diverse reaction to the pick to say the least. I for one, have always been leaning in support of the pick. Though stars like Jeremy Chinn, Denzel Mims, Kristian Fulton, or many more could have helped out the Eagles, I think that picking Jalen Hurts may have been one of the best moves the Eagles could have made.



Before you think this is an article supporting benching Carson Wentz, it is not. Though Hurts is an incredibly good quarterback, he is not taking Wentz’s job. Wentz is a very reliable quarterback that- in my eyes- is capable of winning a Superbowl. That’s what I want to talk about. Superbowls. They are the goal for every team, yet not every team can win one with their current quarterback.


Right now there is the lowest number of quarterbacks that can win a Superbowl ever. I’d say about 12 guys that are capable of it right now without legendary teams not including rookies. Mahomes, Wilson, Lamar, Watson, Brady, Brees, Rodgers, Wentz, Dak, and possibly Kyler Murray, Josh Allen, and Ryan Tannehill. Only 10 of those guys have what I would call a secure immediate future with their teams. 10 teams have their guy. 10.

Where am I going with this? Well, the value of a quarterback has litterally never been higher. 10 teams know who that they will have a great quarterback in 2-3 years. That’s less than 1/3 of the NFL and 5 less teams than it takes to fill out a playoff bracket. That is alarming. Teams will give up whatever they can for a quarterback in the next few years, and it could get ugly. Sam Darnold will probably sell for a first round pick and possibly more. Derek Carr might sign a mega deal this offseason. Dak could be making Mahomes money.


I have yet to even mention Jalen Hurts yet in the article written about him. The Eagles are in a unique situation. They have a franchise quarterback in Carson Wentz and a potential franchise quarterback in Jalen Hurts. Hurts will have ridiculous value as a trade piece in a year or two for two reasons:


Versatility:

Versatility is one of the most important things for a functioning offense in today’s NFL. Look at the Rams. They run a motion at the line of scrimmage on 33% of their plays and are using the motions to run the ball a ton. Specifically 54.2% of the time which is good for 1st in the NFL. They create conflict at the line of scrimmage, and defenses never know whether a sift block is actually going to connect or be used as a decoy for play action. The Ravens run just as much motion, but they have a versitile quarterback in Lamar Jackson that creates even more conflict. The Saints, 49ers, Chiefs, Raiders, Steelers, and Cardinals use athletic players that can play in multiple roles to their advantage. Practically every great offense needs to have something that makes them hard to game plan against. The league has gotten smarter and offenses need to be versatile as they can. No matter what your opinion is on Hurts, you cannot deny his versatility. He can do it all. When he steps on the field, the defense has no idea what to do. He has thrown 1 career pass and teams are lost against him. You don’t get that with many other players. Hurts can bring practically any offense to life if he is able to be a functioning passer in the league. Look at Lamar. He figured out how to throw at above average efficiency and he practically took over the league.


The defense doesn’t know what to do on this play. Granted, it is not a typical passing play, but it still goes to show what a creative offense can do with Hurts. The Saints will regret picking an offensive guard over him.


Potential:

Hurts’ potential is off the charts and it still amazes me that he dropped as far as he did in the draft. He is only 22 years old and on a cheap, 4 year deal. That alone is worth a lot. Like I said, if he develops as a passer, he will be great. That is not just a hope. Hurts has already shown crazy progression as a passer in just the past 3 years. During his sophomore year at Alabama, he was a very 1 dimensional player. In just a season, he turned into one of the best passers in the nation. He was arguably the 3rd best passing quarterback last year behind Lawrence and Burrow. His efficiency was off the charts. He had a downfield accuracy percentage of 75%. Burrow was at 80% during the best collegiate season ever for a quarterback. He was highly accurate and extremely good under pressure with a pressured passer rating of 107.9. That helped him out a lot because his offensive line at OU was not up to par with any other big name quarterback. He can be a phenomenal passer and has already shown significant improvement.


Hurts is collected under pressure and is able to make instinctive plays. He can manipulate defenders downfield and does a great job of resetting his feet on this play.

He has the ability to make plays with both his arm and his legs. It keeps defenses honest. Notice how the linebacker stunt affected the offensive line in the first play. On breakdowns, Hurts is very collected. On the second play, he throws off his back-foot and gets absolutely no hip rotation on an outside pass 20 yards downfield due to the pressure.


Once again he does a great job of avoiding pressure, resetting his feet, and delivering an accurate pass. Time and time again he would make plays in college, yet he still fell to 53 in the draft. I don’t care what his position is, that is a steal.


Hurts is a fantastic player. Add the fact that he is young, cheap, and playing the most valuable and sought after position in the league’s history. I have little doubt that Hurts will go for a very high bidding price. The league may have made fun of Howie Roseman for picking Hurts back in April, but he will get the last laugh.


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