Is Jalen Hurts the Long-Term Answer For the Eagles?

Is Jalen Hurts the Long-Term Answer For the Eagles?

NFL

Is Jalen Hurts the Long-Term Answer For the Eagles?

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AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth

The Philadelphia Eagles drafted former Alabama and Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts with the 53rd overall pick in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft. He was the fifth quarterback drafted behind Joe Burrow, Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert, and Jordan Love. However Hurts found himself in a different situation than the others as he took over the reins from Carson Wentz rather than being thrown directly into the fire or being seen as the possible future of the franchise.

In 16 career starts for the Eagles, Jalen Hurts has posted a 6-10 record, good for a .375 winning percentage. The four quarterbacks drafted ahead of him in the 2020 draft class have an average winning percentage of .471. Burrow, Tagovailoa, Herbert all have posted better winning percentages than Hurts while Love has only started one game in his career. Hurts however does have a higher career Pro Football Focus (PFF) grade than both Tagovailoa and Love.  

Hurts made his first career NFL start in Week 14 of the 2020 NFL season, and led the Eagles to a 24-21 win over the Saints.  Hurts total quarterback rating (QBR) has improved from 41.0 during his first few starts to a 47.9 rating in his second year.  Despite these improvements, Hurts still is ranked 21st in the league for QBR in 2021.

Even with the improvements that Hurts has shown in his limited time, the Eagles have not shown that they particularly trust him as they went out and traded for former Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew. Minshew, recently started a game for the Eagles due to an injury to Hurts and posted a strong 78.2 QBR rating and got the win over the Jets in week 13 of this season. Minshew also holds a better career record as a starting quarterback, sitting at 8-13, from his time in Jacksonville. So the question still remains, has Jalen Hurts shown enough to be the Eagles franchise quarterback of the future? 

Thus far in his career, Hurts statistics don’t necessarily praise him as a franchise quarterback but he is still only 23-years-old with room for improvement. He also hasn’t finished a full season as a starter, which can offer Philadelphia some comfort with any of his recent struggles. Additionally, the options for the future may be somewhat limited as not many prospects from the incoming 2022 NFL quarterback class are seen as day one franchise starters.

If the Eagles do decide that Hurts is not the long-term answer at quarterback, they do have the assets to go out and get one. Philadelphia holds three premium first round picks and 11 total picks, all in the first six rounds of the 2022 draft.

Sitting at a 6-7 record on the season, the Eagles still find themselves in the hunt for the playoffs. They would likely need to strive for a wild card spot to reach the playoffs, with the rival Dallas Cowboys sitting pretty at the top of the division. So while the debate on Jalen Hurts is still ongoing, luckily for him, he has the final four games of this season to showcase more of himself and prove to the Eagles that he is indeed their franchise player. 

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