Jalen Hurts Can Be A Fantasy Football Star (2020 NFL Draft)
Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma
Weight: 222 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.59 seconds
Hand Size: 9 3/4 inches
(Games Scouted: Houston (2019) | Texas Tech (2019) | Texas (2019) | Baylor (2019) | Oklahoma State (2019) | LSU (2019))
It has certainly been an interesting road for Jalen Hurts to get to this point. Hurts was a 4-star prospect coming out of high school and committed to Alabama, where he ended up starting two games into his freshman year. He held the job for his freshman season and all of his sophomore season until he was benched in the National Championship game for a talented player named Tua Tagovailoa.
From that point on, Hurts took a backseat and eventually transferred out of Alabama to Oklahoma, where he started all 14 games this past season. While Hurts is known for his athleticism and propensity to run the ball, he’s consistently improved as a passer throughout his time in college. He’s a dynamic playmaker and has a “clutch” factor that not many QBs in CFB have…
Will Hurts be able to make the jump to the NFL as a traditional QB prospect though? Does he have the talent level to be a starting QB?
Those questions are answered below in my detailed scouting report on Jalen Hurts (ratings out of five stars):
Arm Strength/Throwing Mechanics
Hurts has enough arm strength to succeed in the NFL, but it’s not going to be a characteristic that has him at the top of NFL teams’ draft boards. He is able to send the ball downfield, but he does have to truly wind up to do so and it doesn’t come as naturally as some of the other players in this class. Additionally, struggles with pure mechanics. Often has poor footwork, struggles to routinely rotate his hips around, and rarely drives through his throws. Hurts also has a very long release that telegraphs his throws and allows defenders the ability to more quickly get in and knock the ball down.
Jalen Hurts scores a go-ahead touchdown with Tua Tagovailoa cheering him on.
You simply cannot make this up. pic.twitter.com/ngRf95vtL8
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) December 2, 2018
Hurts has good accuracy in the short to intermediate passing game, but struggles when asked to air the ball out downfield. He’s consistently overthrowing or under-throwing receivers and has to rely on his playmakers to adjust to the ball.
Throwback to when Jalen Hurts led Oklahoma back from a 28-3 deficit against Baylor 🔥 pic.twitter.com/sXXn9LK4O3
— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) March 28, 2020
This is where Hurts is most comfortable as a QB. Hurts is built like a running back and has incredible change of direction ability. However, he relies on this ability too much and often tucks the ball and bails out of the pocket prematurely. He has the ability to make plays on the ground, which will certainly boost his fantasy football value, but defenses are going to be able to hone in and take away this ability and try to make them beat him through the air in the NFL.
Jalen Hurts' fake was so smooth 😮 pic.twitter.com/EJ2QATa9pY
— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) October 5, 2019
Hurts has good pocket awareness, but often bails out too early. When the first sign of pressure is closing in, Hurts will fall back on his athleticism too easily and will look to extend a play, rather than only relying on his mobility when the pocket truly breaks down. Additionally, while other plays in this class succeed in this category, Hurts struggles to keep his eyes downfield while navigating a broken down pocket.
— Bleacher Report CFB (@BR_CFB) January 17, 2019
Unfortunately, based on my tape evaluation, Hurts appears to be a one-read QB by design and if the read isn’t there, he’ll tuck it and run. This can extend to sometimes the WR needing to be wide open in order to release the ball. He shows a below average ability to go through his full progressions and looks to only throw the ball where he’s told to throw it by play design and, if the read’s not open, tuck the ball and run. This worked against inferior defenses, but Baylor and LSU saw right through it. They shut Hurts down and forced him to beat them on the ground.
Jalen Hurts on his year in Norman, why he should be drafted and more.
"I'm a dog. A relentless competitor. A leader."
— Sooner Gridiron (@soonergridiron) March 8, 2020
As mentioned above, Hurts struggles in this category, as well. He is rarely throwing the ball before a receiver is out of their break and may not feel completely confident to release the ball until he knows the receiver is uncovered. In Lincoln Riley’s system, this happened often, but the throwing windows for a QB in the NFL (versus in the Big-12) are significantly smaller. Hurts will have to develop this ability to his game if he is going to succeed in the NFL.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 12, 2019
Potential Landing Spot
Right now, Hurts is rising throughout this pre-draft process. NFL scouts project QBs forward in the pre-draft process to what they can be, versus what they have been. While Hurts certainly has the tools to be a dynamic force in today’s NFL, there’s a lot more refinement that needs to happen before he can ever be a starting QB for a franchise, in my opinion. Hurts does a lot of things very well though and could be a phenomenal option for fantasy football with his rushing ability. He’s likely to be drafted on day two (Rounds 2 & 3) of the NFL Draft, but the lack of starting QB jobs left after free agency makes it highly unlikely that he’ll be given the starting job right away. My projection is that Hurts will land as a backup somewhere and be given schemed touches in a similar way that Taysom Hill has been over the course of his career. They’re completely different playing styles, but the type of impact that they’d bring to an offense would be similar. This would allow Hurts to work on refining his game and eventually step in as a starter in a year or two. He has incredible potential, there’s no denying that. For fantasy football, Hurts is completely dependent upon landing spot. We have to know where he’s going to end up and if he’s going to be the starter in order to know where he should be drafted.
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