The theory that Jalen Hurts hasn’t improved as a passer may have recently been debunked. Not only did he improve in less than a year with Lincoln Riley, he improved exponentially.
Hurts is riding a wave of momentum following impressive on-field performances and interviews at the NFL Combine. No he’ll be under the microscope of NFL scouts before Oklahoma hosts its pro day on March 11th. Undoubtedly in their film breakdown they are going to see some bad reads and throws, but they’re also going to see marked improvement.
Hurts arrived in Norman pretty much as an across the middle passer, ranking Top 25th percentile in his attempts between 10-20 yards and 20-plus yards. He left campus in the Top 25th percentile on all three levels of the middle of the field. In addition he was Top 25th in mid to deep-range to the right side and deep to the left.
The stigma of an athlete playing the quarterback position is going to remain for a lot of fans but it is changing with NFL execs. Hurts will never be a top-overall pick, or even a first rounder, like Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray were but that doesn’t mean he can’t be a draft pick with tons of potential.
In fact, part of the perception issue with Hurts is the comparisons to Mayfield and Murray. He just wasn’t in that same category as a collegiate quarterback but he is in the category strong-armed NFL quarterback.
None of this even mentions Hurts’ leadership ability which was never in question to begin with. I think, in time, when we look back at the player who ranks eighth in Oklahoma all-time history with 5,149 yards of total offense and ninth in career passing yards (3,851) and career TD passes (32) despite playing just one season, we’ll realize that Jalen Hurts was actually a pretty dang good quarterback.
Follow us on Twitter: @SportsHeartland