For some reason, there seems to be a lot of speculation surrounding whether Jalen Hurts is the long-term franchise quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles. Part of that stems from the fact that the organization has not come out and explicitly given a ringing endorsement to Hurts, but their actions say he’s the guy. Hopefully.
The Eagles had the opportunity to keep the sixth overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft and take a quarterback to replace him. Instead, they traded down and drafted Heisman Trophy-winning wide receiver DeVonta Smith. Everything they’re doing shows they want to set Hurts up for success.
Hurts has a skillset that is perfect for a team with a lot of holes to fill. An underrated passer, he has legs that can keep the play alive when the offensive line breaks down — something that happened early and often last season.
He’s the guy. Or at least he should be.
The offensive line was a mess last year
The Eagles caught the injury bug before the season even started last year, as projected starting left tackle Andre Dillard and right guard Brandon Brooks were both lost for the season. Going through a carousel of offensive linemen, they featured 11 different linemen who played at least 50 snaps. Throwing together a patchwork offensive line is never a good thing.
Carson Wentz, who began the year as the starting quarterback in Philly, took the most sacks in the NFL (50) in only 12 games. Hurts took 13 sacks.
Let’s do some quick math.
Wentz took 809 snaps last season, or a sack every 16.18 snaps.
Hurts took 334 snaps last season, or a sack every 25.69 snaps.
Behind the same patchwork offensive line, the mobility of Jalen Hurts allowed him to go 9.51 snaps more between sacks than his predecessor. With an offensive line that is still a bit up in the air, Hurts is the perfect Band-Aid for the protection woes.
Hurts is much more than just a runner
While his completion percentage struggled during his rookie season to the tune of 52.0 percent, Hurts was a prolific dual-threat quarterback throughout his collegiate career.
Starting at Alabama, he transferred to Oklahoma to give way to the rise of Tua Tagovailoa. His senior year, while at Oklahoma, he dominated college football with a 69.7 completion percentage, 3,851 passing yards, and 32 touchdowns, coupled with 1,298 rushing yards and 20 rushing touchdowns.
In almost any other year, that would have been a Heisman Trophy-winning performance. That honor went to Joe Burrow, who went on to be the first overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Hurts, inexplicably, lasted until the late second round.
Before scoffing at his rookie passing numbers, let’s remember that his wide receivers were the likes of Travis Fulgham, Greg Ward, and injured fellow rookie Jalen Reagor.
Hurts gives Eagles fans reasons to be optimistic
Last year was brutal in Philly, as the team limped to a 4-11-1 record.
A month away from the start of the regular season, the Eagles need to squash all trade rumors and speculation about Hurts not being their quarterback. Commit to Hurts, give him the reins that he has earned with his play and his leadership, and let your fan base invest in and get excited about a signal-caller who has the tools to be the next great dual-threat quarterback in the NFL.
All he’s done is handle the situation, which was a burning ship sinking into the abyss last season, with grace and leadership. He has repetitively fielded questions about Wentz and Deshaun Watson trade speculation (which would be a nightmare) and continues to take it on the chin.
While the Eagles took down the banner of Carson Wentz, they’ve yet to replace it with one of Hurts. Wentz has been gone since March 17. It’s been almost five months.
General manager Howie Roseman could clear all of this up with a simple “We believe in Jalen and believe he has what it takes to be a franchise quarterback. He’s our starter this year.” Instead, the most optimistic comment we’ve heard from him is, “We want him to take it and run with it,” which he delivered in an interview with NFL Network while talking about competing with veteran quarterback Joe Flacco this preseason.
At least we’ve heard them say that they want him to take the job. That’s new.
In the meantime, while the front office tries to figure out its long-term plans, Hurts will continue to show up, lead, perform, and mask the deficiencies of his offensive line with his mobility. He’s the perfect quarterback for this current Eagles roster.