Opinions are clearly split on Jalen Hurts as he enters Year 2 of his career and his first season as the Eagles’ starting quarterback.
Some have really high hopes for Hurts.
Not Chris Simms.
The NBC Sports’ analyst and former NFL quarterback finished unveiling his annual list of the top 40 quarterbacks in the NFL and guess where Hurts ranked? He didn’t. Hurts didn’t even make the list.
This means that not only did the other starting quarterbacks in the NFL make this list but Simms thinks several backup quarterbacks like Case Keenum, Tyrod Taylor, Taysom Hill and even rookies Mac Jones and Kellen Mond are better than Hurts.
For what it’s worth, I’m much higher on Hurts than Simms. In my ranking of the 32 starting quarterbacks, I had Hurts at No. 23.
But at least Simms is consistent. Back in early March, we had him on the Eagle Eye podcast. At that moment, the Eagles still had the No. 6 pick in the draft and Simms thought the Birds should gamble on taking a quarterback with that pick. That’s how unconvinced he was by Hurts last season.
“I never evaluated Jalen Hurts through my process — and I know he’s a fine young man and he’s got charisma and leadership skills and all that — but there’s just nothing that I ever saw that led me to think he’s an NFL starting quarterback,” Simms said in March. “And I don’t like saying that about a young kid and, listen, I hope he proves me wrong. And if he proves me wrong, I’ll be on here to go, ‘Way to go, Jalen Hurts, you made Chris Simms look like a dumb idiot, way to go.’ I hope that’s the case, I do.”
Hurts last season started four games with the Eagles. He completed just 52% of his passes and had 6 touchdowns to 4 interceptions. He also ran for 354 yards and 3 touchdowns but was charged with 9 fumbles (they weren’t all his fault.)
But last season, the Eagles’ offense was a complete mess, so it was really hard to evaluate Hurts. The offensive line was in shambles, the young receivers were making simple errors and the play caller clearly seemed to lose his rhythm. On top of all that, Hurts was playing in an offense that was designed for Carson Wentz.
This season, the situation ought to be much better for Hurts. The O-line should be healthier, the Eagles drafted DeVonta Smith and Nick Sirianni has months to design an offense that will cater to Hurts’ strengths.
Still, Simms will need to be convinced. He thinks the more Hurts plays, people will figure out his tendencies and he’ll look “less and less like a passing quarterback.”
“There’s still a lot of work that needs to be done there,” Simms said. “He’s still certainly a below average thrower in NFL terms. Now, his athletic ability and the threat he brings to the run game and things like that, that can simplify defenses and I’m not saying he needs to be Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers and pick defenses apart and all of that too. But I think, all in all, my grand thought would be, I would be shocked if the Eagles went into 2021 and the Eagles were like, ‘Hey, Jalen Hurts, you’re the guy. We’re going all in on you.’ He did not prove that to me at this point.”
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