Where does Jalen Hurts rank among starting NFL quarterbacks?
Well, it depends on who you ask.
In the case of The Athletic’s Mike Sando polling 50 league insiders (including general managers, coaches, coordinators, scouts, etc.) for his annual “Quarterback Tiers” column, Hurts is ranked tied for 20th. He shares that spot with none other than his predecessor ... Carson Wentz.
Hurts and Wentz placed as “Tier 3” quarterbacks. Here’s how that’s defined in this context:
A Tier 3 quarterback is a legitimate starter but needs a heavier running game and/or defensive component to win. A lower-volume dropback passing offense suits him best.
Hard to argue with this classification. The Eagles passed the ball at a lower percentage than any other team in the NFL last year. The Colts were fifth-to-last in passing playing percentage with Jonathan Taylor doing a lot of the heavy lifting.
It’s also hard to argue with the Hurts write-up as a whole. The insiders summed it up well.
Hurts jumped 10 spots from last season, the largest year-over-year gain (Burrow climbed nine spots). Some of that was because Hurts debuted so low as a player with minimal experience and a modest pedigree, but voters also admire Hurts for his approach to the game despite seeing limitations that most feel will prevent Hurts from climbing into Tier 2.
“He is a poor man’s Baltimore guy (Jackson) because he can’t run that fast, but he’s so serious about his job, and he’s physically and mentally tough,” an offensive coach said. “He will play very, very consistent. He just won’t be a good enough passer over time to get out of the 3s.”
A quandary awaits Philadelphia if Hurts remains the starter.
“Their staff did a masterful job adjusting the offense for Hurts,” a defensive coach said. “It is just very rare that you are going to have sustainable success running a college-style offense with a limited passer. You are on a path where you are either going to recreate Baltimore’s offense or Hurts is going to prove to you that he can play in a pro-style offense or you are going to get a new quarterback.”
Two head coaches did think Hurts could ascend into Tier 2.
“Jalen is a 3 with an arrow to maybe a 2,” one of the head coaches said. “I love the guy. We couldn’t take him as high as Philly took him, him but if he would have fallen, we were definitely interested. I like that he wants to be really good, and I thought he was playing some pretty good football last year.”
The prevailing thought on Hurts is that he’s doing an excellent job running an offense that the Eagles’ coaching staff has effectively tailored to his strengths, and that he’ll need to grow considerably as a passer for Philly to contend.
“If the guy can’t stand there and win on third down with his arm, you don’t have a chance,” an offensive coordinator said.
Hurts is currently viewed as a high-floor, low-ceiling starter. While there’s some optimism he could improve, no one seems to believe he has a chance to jump up to special Tier 1 status. Serious questions about his passing ability remain. He must make significant strides in that area this season. There’s no good excuse for him not to considering the support the Eagles have surrounded him with.
In addition to keeping company with Wentz, here are the other quarterbacks Hurts shares a tier with: Kirk Cousins, Jimmy Garoppolo, Ryan Tannehill, Mac Jones, Baker Mayfield, Jared Goff, Trevor Lawrence, and Jameis Winston. These are quarterbacks you largely “win with” as opposed to “win because of.”
The Eagles will hope to see Hurts improve beyond this category.
NFL insiders ranked Jalen Hurts tied for the 20th best QB. Too high, too low, just right?
This poll is closed