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Examining Jalen Hurts’ Upside

Eagles

Photo Credit by Philadelphia Eagles

There were a few times last summer when the usually unflappable Jalen Hurts showed some frustration, not because of any struggles on the football field as much as the limitations in practice.

While quarterbacks are always protected more than any other player with red jerseys here in Philadelphia signaling stop to any rogue defender, the skill set of Hurts is limited even more in a practice environment because one of his biggest strengths — extending plays — is often blown dead with an eye on keeping the QB safe.

On one occasion during red-zone work in joint practices with New England last August, Hurts was flushed right and ultimately fired the football into the turf when the official on-site at the NovaCare Complex correctly blew the whistle to signal for the next rep.

The result in an actual live environment will never be known, lost in the ether for the ages, but one thing became abundantly clear at that moment, Hurts really can’t be properly evaluated in a practice format because so much of his playmaking ability is tied into pushing the envelope when the real bullets are flying.

What we do know is that the young QB was good enough to lead the Eagles to the playoffs and earn Pro Bowl-alternate status during his first full season as an NFL starter.

If that’s the floor for Hurts as a prospect that’s pretty good but what about the ceiling which many see as limited due to Hurts’ pedigree as the 53rd overall pick in 2020?

Football Gameplan’s Emory Hunt has always been high on Hurts and the QB1’s first two professional seasons have only validated that sentiment.

“Full disclosure. He was my number two quarterback coming out in that draft class. I had him right behind [No. 1 overall pick] Joe Burrow so I was high on him as a prospect because of the innate ability he has to not only extend plays but play through pressure,” Hunt told JAKIB Sports. “And if you can play through pressure I want you as my quarterback.”

Intangibles have been noted as a strength of Hurts since he arrived at the NovaCare Complex and his worth ethic and leadership skills are notable.

“I don’t care how tall you are. How far you can throw. How fast you can run, can you handle pressure situations?” Hunt asked rhetorically. “That’s the most underrated element of quarterback play.”

Ultimately, Hunt pointed to a division rival and two-time Pro Bowl QB Dak Prescott of Dallas as a potential comp when talking about Hurts’ potential progression as a player.

“I feel like he can be a Dak Prescott for Philadelphia which is good,” Hunt noted. “Prescott has been fantastic for the Dallas Cowboys. … we haven’t seen Jalen Hurts under the same OC in back-to-back years since high school. So, when you look at someone that has gotten better, has the humble nature to work on where he needs to work on. … all of that makeup yields me to believe that this guy is going to be exactly what you want him to be as a franchise quarterback.”

-John McMullen is the managing editor of JAKIBSports.com and covers the Eagles and the NFL for JAKIB Sports.