In the months heading into the 2020 NFL Draft, former Oklahoma standout quarterback Jalen Hurts is pegged as being one of the top quarterbacks in this year’s class. However, some have doubts about his ability to transition to the next level and find success. That has contributed a bit to him not being regarded as being a top-tier talent at the position. It has begun to bring forth similar questions to what former Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson dealt with a couple of years ago. In response to that chatter, Hurts ventured a similar route to the reigning league MVP.
Jalen Hurts’ 2019 season
Following the decision to transfer to the University of Oklahoma, Hurts made the most of his emerging as one of the top talents in the nation.
Despite no longer being with the University of Alabama, he took advantage of his chance to sign in 2019 for another school as he experienced a tremendous amount of success. He led the Sooner to compete in the College Football playoffs while earning a Big 12 championship, a First-Team All-Big 12 selection, Big 12 Offensive Newcomer of the Year award, and was a Heisman Trophy finalist finishing second to Joe Burrow.
Hurts finished with 32 touchdown passes with 3,851 passing yards on a 69.7% completion rate along with 1,298 rushing yards and 20 rushing touchdowns. That included setting the school record with 508 total yards in his debut. That comes after he put forth an impressive three-year career at Alabama, where he helped guide the school to a National Championship in 2018.
Despite all that, Hurts was broached a similar question that Jackson faced two years ago.
Jalen Hurts channels Lamar Jackson
Hurts heads into the NFL scouting combine, regarded as one of the top prospects at the quarterback position. He is one of the most accomplished players in his class that experienced a tremendous amount of success under center.
Although he put forth an impressive collegiate career, questions about his talent at the position at the next level continue to arise. That led to Hurts being asked about whether he would consider playing another spot in the NFL to which he took the same approach Lamar Jackson did.
The 21-year-old has proven to be a tremendous talent with his legs but also showcased his passing ability as he completed nearly 70% of his passes while posting a career-best 32 touchdown passes in his senior year. It’s a question that is getting his tossed his way on the fact that he’s a tremendous all-around athlete, but the notion of him playing another position creates similar doubt that Jackson faced.
Hurts has received strong support from Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley, who voiced that considering him playing another position would be a silly notion. He possesses a unique skill set that could thrive, given the right situation at the next level.
Where will Jalen Hurts land?
Like Jackson, it comes down to a team believing in Hurts being able to find success in the NFL.
That was the case for Jackson as the Baltimore Ravens traded up into the backend of the first round to snag him. The Louisville product made the most of his opportunity that saw him experience a historic 2019 campaign that helped him become the second unanimous league MVP.
Following the top of the crop quarterbacks in Burrow, Tua Tagovailoa, and Justin Herbert, Hurts is viewed as the next level of talent. There could be several teams like the Pittsburgh Steelers, Los Angeles Chargers, Carolina Panthers, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers that could eye him if hey miss out on those players.
The initial perception is that he won’t be selected in the first round, which leaves an opportunity to prove himself at the combine along with interviews and the individual workouts that will follow. All of this should provide Hurts will more fuel to the fire to showcase he can be a viable starting NFL quarterback.