Strange things happen to projections on draft night. That's on a normal draft night, and Day 1 of the 2022 NFL Draft was not a normal one. One of the biggest moves of the night came with the Philadelphia Eagles traded the No. 18 pick for A.J. Brown. Brown landed a $100-million extension in the process, the Titans drafted Treylon Burks, and seemingly everyone got what they wanted. But I'm not sure anyone got more than Jalen Hurts.
Hurts, a borderline No. 1 quarterback since he took over as starter at the end of the 2020 season, now becomes a candidate to be the No. 1 quarterback in Fantasy Football, and that's no hyperbole.
To start with, the combination of Brown, DeVonta Smith, and Dallas Goedert gives Hurts one of the most potent receiving corps in the NFL. Last year Hurts averaged 7.3 yards per pass attempt and completed 61% of his passes. The addition of Brown and his career 10.2 yards per target should lead to a boost in both efficiency and pass volume. That pass volume bump was likely always coming, you should always expect outliers to regress towards league median, but trading a first-round pick for Brown exacerbates those expectations.
I boosted the Eagles pass rate up up to 51% , which is still amongst the lowest in my projections, but is considerably higher than last year's league-low 45.9% pass rate. I also bumped Hurts up to 7.7 yards per pass attempt and a 4.7% touchdown rate. In terms of raw numbers, that gives him a projection of 4,275 yards and 26 touchdowns through the air.
Of course, the main appeal of Hurts thus far has been as a rusher, and I wouldn't expect that to change. Even with a course correction in team rush attempts, I still project Hurts for 142 carries, 795 yards, and eight touchdowns. Put the passing and rushing numbers together and you come up with a guy who is QB3, behind only Josh Allen and Justin Herbert. In other words, congratulations if you already drafted him in a Best Ball league.
With a projection as a top-three quarterback it's not hard to see the path to No. 1 overall. Hurts would simply need to have one of those outlier efficiency seasons like Patrick Mahomes had in 2018, Lamar Jackson had in 2019, or Josh Allen had in 2020. The thing is, there are only a handful of quarterbacks who have that type of upside in their projectable outcomes and Hurts' weapons and skillset now put him in that group.
In redraft, Hurts should be drafted as a surefire top-five Fantasy quarterback. In Dynasty, he still has more risk than you'd like because of his contract situation and the Eagles' draft pick stockpile. But Hurts is definitely a top-10 quarterback in that format and if he hits this year like the situation suggests he might, and he gets paid, he could vault into the top-three in Dynasty.