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Chris Simms leaves Eagles QB Jalen Hurts outside of QB Top-40

Ex-NFL QB and NBC Sports Analyst doesn’t see Hurts as a starter

Washington Football Team v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

NBC Sports’ Chris Simms has finished revealing his Top-40 QB rankings, and like most offseason ranking content, it has folks up in a tizzy.

But it’s not the reveal of the Top-5 that has Eagles fans upset. Rather, it’s that which became increasingly clear as Simms’ list was released, bottom to top: Jalen Hurts didn’t make it.

Simms spoke on the exclusion of Hurts on his “Unfiltered” podcast during the list’s rolling release. He said:

I’m didn’t do it to create any headlines, but the way I look at it, he’s not as good as any of the 40 guys I’ve got here. Again, I understand his running — it’s good. Throwing, I still have major concerns about. And I can show you tons of throws on film and just go ‘Listen, this is not acceptable in the NFL, some of these throws.’ So there’s a lot more I’ve gotta see from that aspect.

I look at Jalen Hurts as kinda still a project, and a starting quarterback a little bit — I don’t mean this to be disrespectful — by default, because of the weird situation in Philadelphia. Not necessarily that he like, grabbed it by its horns and just blew everybody away...”Oh my gosh! Wow! He’s so good, we gotta keep him on the field!” No...I’ve still got way too many questions before I can throw him on here yet.

Simms isn’t wrong. There are plenty of throws that Hurts made last year that were unacceptable, in terms of the reads he made, his pocket management, or his accuracy. Hurts has yet to perform as an NFL-caliber thrower, which was always the concern with Hurts coming out. Having him ranked below such rookies as Justin Fields and Trey Lance, who had clearly better profiles coming out of college, is intuitive.

Of course, Hurts was no better or worse as a thrower than Carson Wentz was, by both the eye test and most catch-all metrics of quarterback play. Wentz is 18th on this list, and was largely forgiven for his poor play last season. In that he’s had better play in the pros historically, this again makes sense — though Wentz is surprisingly high on the list.

However, quarterback play isn’t just throwing. Discounting Hurts’ running ability as good and discussing it no further maybe lets you get him below players like Case Keenum, Tyrod Taylor, Teddy Bridgewater, and even Andy Dalton — because they’re all better throwers — despite the reality that Hurts is more likely to help an offense than any of those four players because of his running ability. This isn’t a passer ranking, as I understand it — it’s a quarterback ranking. While I remain, like Simms, unconvinced that Hurts is a starting-caliber quarterback in the NFL, I think he clearly brings more when asked to start than other quarterbacks ranked above him