Leap week has officially begun and Philadelphia Eagles’ third-year quarterback, Jalen Hurts, is the first entry. What can he do to become a top player at the position?
One position that seems to define an organization is quarterback. This has been more apparent as the league has become more pass heavy and reliant on signal callers who can improvise, make plays, and always give their teams a chance to win.
The 2020 NFL Draft class of quarterbacks was riddled with some of the league’s best young talent, but not without some controversy for one particular organization. The Philadelphia Eagles drafted quarterback, Jalen Hurts, in the second round after paying then multi-year starter Carson Wentz a huge contract extension. At the time, many experts believed this to be a blunder for the Eagles, but with Wentz’s inconsistent play and multiple injuries throughout his career, Hurts would find himself in the driver’s seat on more than one occasion.
As a rookie, Hurts showed flashes of brilliance with both his arm and legs, but also exhibited traits that plague most rookies including passing inaccuracy, timing, and lack of ability understanding NFL coverages. A 1-3 record as a starter would ultimately reaffirm his position as a backup, with uncertainty on who may be the Eagles starter going into the 2021 season.
Leap Week: Jalen Hurts is Ready to Make the Leap in 2022
All of the uncertainty would change as the Eagles would trade Carson Wentz to the Indianapolis Colts in the offseason and draft familiar faces from Hurts’ college days at Alabama in first- and second-round picks Devonta Smith and Landon Dickerson.
Hurts, now solidified as the starter, would need to prove himself in his first full year having the reins. Through week nine of the regular season, it looked like the Hurts trial run may have been a mistake as the Eagles were just 3-6. While majority of the blame should not solely fall on Hurts, a lot of the same inaccuracies and missed reads left the pass game a bit stagnant. The back half of the season saw the Eagles coaching staff trust the run game and Hurts’ playmaking ability with his legs a bit more.
The team reeled off six wins in their final eight games and finished with a 9-8 record, which led to a Wild Card berth. Even with all of the successes they saw late in the season, Hurts did not improve much from a statistical standpoint in the passing game. His last six starts he accumulated 1163 yards with a five touchdowns to five interceptions ratio. His lone playoff appearance was just as bad. He only completed 53 percent of his passes for one touchdown and two interceptions in a lopsided loss to Tampa Bay.
With all that being said, the past two years only serve as the pre-assignment for the course that the 2022 season should be for Jalen Hurts. This next season will be his best and the reasons why will have you thinking the same.
Not only was Jalen Hurts in his first full year of starting for the Eagles, but his coaching staff was brand new as well. The offensive woes at the beginning of the season can be attributed to a new system and truly figuring out the identity of the offense. Once the Eagles started running the ball, they became a much more dynamic team. This bodes well in Hurts’ favor as they can tailor the offensive scheme to his specific talents and gifts, while minimizing his weaknesses.
The Eagles have the best offensive line in football. This new line is very reminiscent of the group that won Super Bowl 52, it features: the No. 3 rated left and right tackles, solid guards, and is anchored by the best center of the last decade, Jason Kelce. With this type of protection, expect the run game to be as dominant as last year, but also expect Jalen Hurts to have much more time to work on his pocket presence and go through more reads.
The biggest off-season move for the Eagles was trading a couple picks to acquire superstar wide receiver A.J. Brown. Not only do the Eagles get a true number one wide receiver to play opposite another top receiver in Devonta Smith, but they also get one of Jalen Hurts’ best friends. They have been known to link up and workout during the offseason and now they are running mates for the same team. Of course there will be some timing issues to work through during the preseason, but once Hurts and Brown are able to get on the same page, prepare for fireworks.
Eagles Insider, Eliot Shorr-Parks, believes Jalen Hurts will receive a huge contract extension if he has the success that people believe he can achieve this season. What can be more motivating than validating yourself as your team’s long time starter, winning games, and making a whole lot of money? Jalen Hurts has no excuse but to be great this season and he will be. He’s set up to have a magical season like the Cincinnati Bengals did last year. He should help the Eagles win the NFC East, and have a deep playoff run.