Heading into the 2021 season, a great deal of skepticism surrounded Jalen Hurts and the future of the Philadelphia Eagles. Many were unsure if Hurts had what it took to be a starting-caliber quarterback in the NFL, especially when considering the passing side of things.
Fast forward to Week 16, and Hurts finds himself in a pretty favorable position amidst all the skepticism.
Jalen Hurts was named a Pro Bowl alternate
Fresh off an impressive performance against the Washington Football Team (arguably his best game of the year), Hurts was named an alternate for the Pro Bowl. With current Pro Bowl quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady likely to opt-out of the festivities, the odds of Hurts appearing in the Pro Bowl are pretty high.
Even just two weeks ago, the idea of Hurts being a Pro Bowler wasn’t being talked out. He threw three interceptions during an ugly Week 13 loss to the New York Giants, and his passing numbers ranked toward the bottom of the NFL.
However, Hurts’ peers felt differently. They presumably put a significant amount of stock into Hurts’ rushing ability, which he is genuinely elite at. He’s rushed for 733 yards and 10 touchdowns — well on his way to a 1,000-yard season.
Not only is Hurts being named a Pro Bowler great for his individual stock moving forward, but it’s something for the Eagles’ front office to hang their hats on. A lot has been made of Howie Roseman’s poor drafting in recent years. HIm potentially being able to say he snagged a Pro Bowl quarterback in the second round is massive.
The Eagles appear to be switching plans at QB
For most of the season, the conversation around the Eagles has regarded them pursuing a new quarterback via trade. They were heavily linked to Deshaun Watson around the trade deadline and have often been linked to veterans Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers.
Wilson, in particular, is someone Howie Roseman has had an intense interest in in the past. It made all the sense in the world for the Eagles to aggressively pursue him this offseason.
However, with the Eagles currently 7-7, on the brink of sneaking into the playoffs, and Hurts likely to appear at the Pro Bowl, it seems Roseman and Co. are switching gears. It feels highly likely Hurts is back under center for the Eagles in 2022 and potentially longer.
Jalen Hurts still needs to develop as a passer
The NFL is rapidly changing — there’s a place for run-first quarterbacks. However, that doesn’t mean Hurts and the Eagles can ignore the passing aspect of football forever. Even after his impressive showing against Washington, Hurts ranks 24th in passer rating and 22nd in quarterback rating.
That’s not good enough. For example, Carson Wentz (who the Eagles rushed out of town in favor of Hurts) ranks sixth in QBR. The difference is drastic.
Hurts is still young. There’s plenty of time to develop his arm and accuracy. However, it does need to happen eventually. All the truly great teams in the NFL (Buccaneers, Packers, Chiefs, etc.) have guys under center who can air the ball out when things get dicey. Hurts and the Eagles (obviously) aren’t there yet.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference.