Philadelphia Eagles’ quarterback Jalen Hurts inherited quite the job during the 2020 season. After taking over for Carson Wentz, Hurts was praised for igniting the team’s spark, then quickly scrutinized for his passing game ability. Now with 19 NFL starts under his belt, what does the future hold for the 23-year-old?
OBTAINING A STARTING ROLE
After tagging Carson Wentz as the face of the Eagles’ franchise, Philadelphia selected Jalen Hurts with the 53rd overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. As a third-string quarterback, Hurts moved to the No. 2 position during Week 2 of his rookie season. Hurts was used in double-quarterback plays alongside Wentz, eventually becoming his replacement in Week 8.
In his first career start, Hurts led the Eagles to their fourth 2020 season win, establishing himself as a rushing quarterback. In four weeks, he completed 77 completions for 1,061 passing yards and six passing touchdowns. He also had 354 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns.
Following a long-winded quarterback “controversy”, the Eagles named Hurts as their starting quarterback after Wentz was traded to the Indianapolis Colts. Hurts and the Eagles won their season opener, losing their next three games. Despite excelling in his own rushing game, he had difficulty staying in the pocket and anticipating moves down the field.
Hurts suffered an ankle injury in Week 12, missing the following game. He returned after Philadelphia’s bye week, finishing the season 9-8 and making the playoffs.
In 15 starts, Hurts finished with 265 completions for 3,144 passing yards and 16 touchdowns. He also added 784 rushing yards and ten touchdowns to his resume. He was named to his first Pro Bowl as an NFC alternate.
THE FUTURE OF JALEN HURTS
Despite confirmation from the Eagles’ organization that Hurts was their starting quarterback for the 2022 season, there were rumors about acquiring another guy — namely, Russell Wilson and DeShaun Watson.
The Denver Broncos acquired Wilson and Watson went to the Cleveland Browns.
The Eagles then made a big move that provided fans with answers regarding Hurts going into this season, as well as, next.
General manager Howie Roseman traded Philadelphia’s 16th, 19th, and 194th selections in the 2022 NFL Draft to the New Orleans Saints. In return, the Eagles received the 18th, 101st, and 237th picks. They also obtained the Saints’ first-round pick in 2023 and second-round pick in 2024.
By trading down, the Eagles will move forward with Hurts as their starting quarterback, looking to improve his surrounding support. If he doesn’t do well this season, the Eagles will then have multiple first-round picks in 2023 where the quarterback prospects are more desirable.
Following the Eagles’ playoff loss, Hurts underwent ankle surgery stating that his third year was starting immediately. His focus will be fine-tuning his footwork and his passing game. Hurts has been working privately with a quarterback coach in Southern California. There have also been rumors that he has been spending time with Tom Brady.
Head coach Nick Sirianni stated, “He’s [Hurts] working with different people. I’m not going to put his business out there, but he’s working with some different people in Southern California to throw.”
Brady may be a stretch since he has recently returned to the NFL after retiring. As far as “different people” go, Tom House, Adam Dedeaux, and 3DQB are more likely. House is a former MLB pitcher who has developed a second career teaching throwing mechanics to quarterbacks. Dedeaux, a former NFL scouting executive, has worked with many quarterbacks across the league, including Wentz before his 2017 run at MVP.
“I go back to the type of guys that maximize their football potential, and what are the common denominators of those guys — they have high character, they have high football IQ, they love football, they’re tough and they’re competitive,” said Sirianni. “Jalen is all of those things. So Jalen is working on trying to get every angle he can to get better, whether that’s working with a quarterback guy, or studying film, different ways of doing that. He’s doing everything that he can to get better.”