You had to lay -155 at BetAnySports that Jalen Hurts was going to be drafted in the second round, and that’s exactly what happened, as he was taken by the Philadelphia Eagles.
There was some controversy, as Philly, with an established quarterback, didn’t seem to need anyone at the position. And Adam Schefter of ESPN offered kind of an awkward explanation, as he said that because of the coronavirus, more teams have been concerned with who their backup is going to be. That was met with a little skepticism.
Hurts’ case was somewhat curious, as he was a quarterback who almost always won, and spearheaded two teams – Alabama and Oklahoma – into the college football playoff. Still, the feeling, as you probably know, is that from the standpoint of accuracy and arm strength, he wasn’t quite an NFL prospect.
And maybe folks were feeling that way when he came over to Oklahoma as a graduate transfer. There were huge shoes to fill, as he was following two Heisman Trophy winners in Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray, who were transfers themselves. And there was actually some question as to whether he was going to be the starter in fall camp. But he had a major impact right from the beginning. Did anyone really expect the numbers he put up?
Hurts not only completed just shy of 70% of his passes, with just eight interceptions and a monster 11.3 yards an attempt, he ran for 1298 yards and twenty touchdowns. So he was a more versatile weapon than the others in Lincoln Riley’s offense.
But he nonetheless showed a certain degree of vulnerability. In the Peach Bowl (the national semi-final), LSU dedicated itself to stopping Oklahoma’s run first, and making Hurts beat them with his arm. And it worked; while Joe Burrow threw for 463 yards and seven touchdowns, Hurts looked pretty unsure of himself, going just 15 of 31 with an interception, and the game was over by halftime.
So there’s that.
The Eagles are currently listed at +120 to win the NFC East at BetAnySports, with an over / under of 9.5 win (-105 over, -115 under).
No, Hurts isn’t your classic NFL prospect. But he’s an athlete, and the success of Taysom Hill in New Orleans has been instructive toward other teams when it comes to using a “jack-of-all-trades.” If you remember the “Philly Special” when the Eagles defeated the Patriots in the Super Bowl, you know that head coach Doug Pederson doesn’t think or operate in a conventional manner when it comes to offense.
Sure, Hurts will be a backup to Carson Wentz. And no, he probably won’t have an impact as a kamikaze special teams player like Hill. But he is going to have some value as a situational player. He’ll be hard to deal with on two-point conversion plays, and that is something Philadelphia likes to do. He’ll be someone to put into the game alongside Wentz and give them some unique option plays.
Don’t be altogether surprised if Pederson gives Hurts a little time at receiver. After all, he’s got speed. And Philadelphia is looking to upgrade itself at the receiver position, drafting swifty Jalen Reagor of TCU and acquiring world-class sprinter Marquise Goodwin from San Francisco in a trade.
So while people around the NFL might be wondering just what the hell the Eagles are up to, don’t be surprised if Pederson is crazy alright – crazy like a fox.
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