Matt Waldman’s RSP Boiler Room examines a play from Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts that underscores one of many reasons why Hurts has starter potential as an NFL Draft prospect.
The journey from NFL quarterback prospect to consistently productive NFL starter is a treacherous road. Any quarterback drafted after the second round not only has to overcome the creatures along the path that prey on young quarterbacks but also has to traverse the obstacles that his own team will create based on the unintentional bias that comes from the quarterback being a lower draft pick.
This includes fewer reps, a higher weight on mistakes to confirm the player isn’t that promising, and a lower weight on good plays to confirm that the player hasn’t shown the consistency the team prizes. Read the Hidden Advantage of Being a High NFL Pick.
Jalen Hurts will be a relative afterthought among the marquee quarterback prospects in this draft class and due to ignorance about his game, there will be a contingent of people who think Hurts might be better off at another position. Hurts is a good college quarterback with the potential to develop into a productive NFL quarterback.
The uninformed will argue against this notion based on Hurts’s elongated release motion, Lincoln Riley’s offense that arguably inflates the perception that his quarterbacks have high-end decision-making skills, and Hurts’s athletic ability that helps him buy time and earn chunks of yards past the pocket. These items seem well-researched and specific but they are surface-level analysis points lacking the context and depth that digs to the root of Hurts’s value as a developmental prospect with starter potential.
Hurts is a better pocket passer than characterized. There are consistent examples from his film (23 of 27 from 9 games I charted) where he’ll deliver an accurate pass from the pocket under pressure with his feet firmly on the ground at the top of his drop or off a hitch or two. These pinpoint accurate and on-platform throws span every area of the field.
This Boiler Room clip features Hurts reading the safety’s rotation pre-snap, looking to the area that the safety vacated early in Hurts’s drop, and, despite pressure bearing down from the edge, Hurts pivots to the opposite sideline and delivers a pinpoint accurate timing route against tight man coverage.
Hurts makes a lot of plays like this one above and there will be an NFL organization that will value Hurts as a developmental option with the potential to take over the starting role within a few years. The odds are against most Day 2 and Day 3 draft picks but within the scope of how the NFL works, Hurts is a worthwhile investment for a team willing to show patience on the return.
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