Beyond likely first-round picks like Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa, Jalen Hurts is one of the most interesting prospects in the upcoming NFL Draft. The Alabama-turned-Oklahoma quarterback is expected to be a mid-round pick.
Hurts, a 2019 Heisman finalist, isn’t quite the polished passer that Burrow or his former teammate Tagovailoa are viewed as. Still, he has some impressive gifts, and he’s clearly a winning player. Between Alabama and Oklahoma, Hurts was 38-4 as a starter. He guided both teams to College Football Playoff berths.
After losing the starting job to Tua in 2018, Hurts left as a graduate transfer to Oklahoma. There, he put up the most gaudy passing numbers of his college career, throwing for 3,851 yards, 32 touchdowns, and eight interceptions. He completed 69.7-percent of his passes for 11.3 yards per attempt. His running ability made him especially dangerous though; he rushed for 1,298 yards and 20 touchdowns with the Sooners.
ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. has Hurts projected as a fourth-round pick. He believes that the success of Taysom Hill with the New Orleans Saints could help Hurts’ case in the NFL Draft. While Hill plays a number of positions for the team, while occasionally acting as quarterback in for Drew Brees, Hurts is only planning to participate at the NFL Combine as a quarterback, according to his trainer.
— D. Orlando Ledbetter (@DOrlandoAJC) February 20, 2020
D. Orlando Ledbetter interviewed trainer Chip Smith, who is working with Jalen Hurts on his speed. Smith has experience working with the likes of Cam Newton, Colin Kaepernick, and Tyrod Taylor, other dynamic dual-threat players.
From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution report:
“He wants to show people that he’s a quarterback,” said Chip Smith, of Chip Smith Performance Systems, who’s trained more than 2,000 athletes for the combine over the past 36 years. “That’s the big thing. There is talk about other positions and that kind of stuff….He’s a great athlete. He played in two national championships. He’s got more film than any of the other quarterback out there….he’s a quarterback.”
Of course, this doesn’t mean that he won’t fill whatever role that a team asks for him at the next level. It isn’t surprising that he’d make NFL Quarterback his main goal at this point, though.
The 2020 NFL Draft begins on April 23.