2020 NFL Draft Profile: Strengths, weaknesses, best Fantasy fits for Jalen Hurts
Every year, a rookie quarterback offers crazy upside, but also serious downside. Former Alabama and Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts is that guy this spring — and Dave Richard sees a way he could become a Fantasy staple.
A 2019 Heisman finalist and three-time College Football Playoff participant, Jalen Hurts brings a multi-faceted style of offense to the pros. A three-year starter — two at Alabama including as a freshman, one as a senior at Oklahoma — Hurts is an improving passer and tough rusher who accounted for 12,791 offensive yards and 124 total touchdowns over 56 games (some of which he didn't start). This came after a decorated high-school career in Texas that he topped off as a four-star recruit and one of the country's top dual-threat quarterbacks. Hurts' style is perfect for the evolving football offense interested in running a scheme similar to that of the Ravens in 2019.
Numbers to Know
Weight: 222 pounds
DOB: August 7, 1998 (Week 1 age: 22)
Hand: 9 3/4 inches
Arm: 31 3/4 inches
Wingspan: 77 5/8 inches
40 time: 4.58 seconds
2019 at Oklahoma: 14 games, 69.7% completion rate, 3,851 yards, 11.3 yards per attempt, 32 touchdowns, eight interceptions; 233 carries, 1,298 rush yards, 20 rushing touchdowns
In five games against top-25 competition, Hurts completed 64.5% of his throws for 1,199 yards, 8.5 yards per attempt, nine passing scores, four interceptions and a 4-1 record. He also had 387 yards on 97 carries with four scores.
2016-17 at Alabama: 29 games, 61.9% completion rate, 4,861 yards, 7.6 yards per attempt, 40 touchdowns, 10 interceptions; 345 carries, 1,809 rush yards, 21 rushing touchdowns
Known Injury History
High-ankle sprain, Oct. 2018
Hurts is a fearless, physical quarterback who will have the best chance at succeeding in a spread-style RPO system, though there is West Coast offense potential to him as well. He's got a live arm capable of tossing 50-yard bombs, and he has plenty of experience throwing from the pocket or on the run (he's especially effective when moving to his right). Never will you see Hurts duck into the fetal position when defensive pressure comes at him — when things get dangerous in the pocket, his mobility and willingness to throw downfield gives his team a chance, creating the improvisational playmaking skills that can keep an offensive drive alive. Even on plays where things went awry, and there were many, he made a play anyway. He's got good speed for a quarterback and can come through on short-yardage downs on keepers. He's also not easy to bring down because of his strong body.
Hurts is equal parts tantalizing and frustrating, and it's his inconsistencies at pretty much everything that keep him from being an elite prospect. Sometimes he's Joe Cool in the pocket when defenders are near, and sometimes he's completely oblivious to pressure coming at him and he's an easy target for a sack. Sometimes he leaves a pocket without any pressure on him whatsoever, and sometimes he starts running backward to avoid a sack ... only to get sacked for a ton of yards more. The problems with his passing stem from an elongated, over-the-top windup which, combined with inconsistent footwork, sent passes sailing. There were many throws where he hit the wrong shoulder or went too high to his target. Hurts also made plenty of predetermined throws and didn't always read the field well. And he definitely has a tendency to throw soft lobs more often than velocity darts, which could lead to interceptions at the pro level.
Here's how Hurts' numbers compared to some recently drafted mobile quarterbacks.
Jalen Hurts, 2019: 69.7% completion rate, 78.2% of throws on-target, 11.3 yards per attempt, 9.4% touchdown rate, 2.4% interception rate, 5.6 yards per run, 11.7 rushes per touchdown.
Kyler Murray, 2018: 69.1% completion rate, 80.9% of throws on-target, 11.6 yards per attempt, 11.2% touchdown rate, 1.9% interception rate, 7.2 yards per run, 11.7 rushes per touchdown.
Baker Mayfield, 2017: 70.5% completion rate, 81.7% of throws on-target, 11.5 yards per attempt, 10.6% touchdown rate, 1.5% interception rate, 3.2 yards per run, 19.4 rushes per touchdown.
Lamar Jackson, 2017: 59.1% completion rate, 73.9% of throws on-target, 8.5 yards per attempt, 6.3% touchdown rate, 2.3% interception rate, 6.9 yards per run, 12.9 rushes per touchdown.
Josh Allen, 2017: 56.3% completion rate, 71.9% of throws on-target, 6.9 yards per attempt, 5.9% touchdown rate, 2.2% interception rate, 2.2 yards per run, 18.4 rushes per touchdown.
What's the point? Maybe Hurts isn't so far off statistically from other former first-round passers. Murray and Mayfield played in the same system he was in at Oklahoma — they were better, but not by a lot. Jackson's run-heavy approach is similar to Hurts', but Hurts' passing numbers were better. Allen, who has been besieged by accuracy issues since forever, wasn't even in the same ballpark as Hurts.
So maybe the guy's got a shot to be pretty good. Frankly, I think if Allen can command an NFL offense, Hurts can too. When he gets the chance to play right away, provided it's in an offense that fits his skill set (more on that in a bit), it wouldn't be surprising if he were as good as Allen in 2018 with room to improve, like Allen did in 2019.
Favorite Fantasy Fits
Ryan Tannehill used his mobility and bravery in the pocket to become a thing last year with the Titans. Hurts has those traits and can make well-schemed throws like Tannehill did, but he can also run the RPO with Derrick Henry. What a combo that would be! Hurts could conceivably work in Tennessee as an heir-apparent to Tannehill, or he could work in a similarly-schemed offense.
Hurts has also been linked to Dallas as a potential replacement for Dak Prescott. That wouldn't be too bad since the Cowboys could lean on his successful skills now if need be while training him for a larger role in the future. The Panthers and Bears could do the same thing, and you can't rule out the Patriots either. But any offense that tailors their playbook to Hurts' strengths will have a chance to have some success with him, just like the Ravens did with Jackson.
Fantasy Bottom Line
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder here. If you think Hurts is in a position to thrive someday, he'll be worth at least a late second-round pick in rookie-only drafts and a late pick in dynasty/keeper formats. If not, you probably won't even think about drafting him. Hurts would need a perfect landing spot to warrant a late pick in a seasonal Fantasy league.
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