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Jalen Hurts’ ascension up the QB rankings is breathtaking

Hurts has gone from a huge question mark to a megastar franchise QB in the last year.

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Super Bowl LVII - Kansas City Chiefs v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

We will likely never fully get over losing Super Bowl 57.

For most Eagles fans, the heartbreaking 38-35 defeat to the Chiefs will forever be the most difficult loss they will ever experience, and even if the Eagles go on to win another Super Bowl during the next few seasons, there will always be that enormous letdown, knowing they came so close.

Part of the reason winning a championship is so important is that it is an objective validation that your team is the best. That’s the whole point of winning a Super Bowl, and while the 2022 Eagles didn’t ultimately hoist the Lombardi Trophy amidst green and grey confetti falling from the Phoenix sky, they proved they were every bit as good as the team that did.

Maybe that helps. Maybe it doesn’t. One thing we learned for certain, though, is that Jalen Hurts is capable of playing on the game’s biggest stage like the superstar he proved to be all season long.

Hurts’ hero is Michael Jordan. He played like him in the Super Bowl.

At some point this off-season, Hurts will sign a contract extension that will pay him somewhere between $47-55 million a season, and the Eagles are understandably ready to pay him that kind of money because they see what the rest of the NFL now sees.

Jalen Hurts is one of the very best QBs in the sport.

Patrick Mahomes is the undeniable No. 1, but after that, Hurts’ legendary Super Bowl, on the heels of a phenomenal regular season, catapulted him among the upper echelon of quarterbacks.

I personally have Joe Burrow ahead of Hurts in my rankings, but it’s a coin toss at this point, as Burrow and Hurts have both reached Super Bowls and excelled in losing efforts. In the list above, Hurts is the only NFC quarterback listed among the top seven, a good sign that Philadelphia will be able to reach the title game again soon.

Consider where he was just a year ago, when ranked him as the league’s 17th-best QB.

Hurts saving his worst start of the season for the playoffs knocks him down a few spots. He held the ball, didn’t see the field and didn’t shoot straight against the Bucs. That doesn’t erase the gains that came in his other 15 starts, where his pocket passing took a huge step forward. His running ability gives him a high baseline, and he’s a solid starting quarterback at worst, which is quite a find for a highly criticized second-round pick.

Can you even imagine Hurts not playing well in a playoff game? It seems like eons ago he struggled against the Bucs in that wild card disaster. Questions were obviously raised about whether he would emerge as this team’s franchise quarterback, as reflected in some of last year’s season-ending rankings.

NBC Sports Philadelphia had him at No. 23, Pro Football Network placed him at No. 17, and Pro Football Focus had him at No. 11, one of the highest spots among NFL outlets.

Now? Like Matt Cassel’s Way-Too-Early rankings above,, which rated him No. 17 a year ago, has him at No. 2 as well.

Mahomes operated heroically during a dominant second half, but Philly’s prized gem answered time and again, playing through a banged-up shoulder to whip a slew of masterpieces and dominate Kansas City with a Super Bowl-record three quarterback scores on the ground. Entering the season on a theoretical tryout to keep his job, Hurts’ growth was visible right away. He maximized A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith to unleash an air attack that often put opponents to sleep early. He’s become one of the game’s mightiest rumblers from the position. I realize the Index should focus almost entirely on physical exploits — Hurts easily checks those boxes — but it’s impossible for me to ignore his leadership. His grounded response to a challenging Super Bowl defeat was built of something rare. The Eagles and their quarterback will find a way back to football’s grandest stage.

PFN has Hurts at No. 4, behind Mahomes, Josh Allen and Burrow. PFF has him 5th, with Tua Tagovailoa somehow ranked ahead of him, with USA Today putting him 3rd, with only Mahomes and Tua (again with Tua???) ahead of him.

If you were offered a trade for Hurts, straight-up, would you do it? Yes, for Mahomes and probably yes for Burrow. It’s a maybe for Allen or Herbert, although I sure wouldn’t argue if you would do it. Definitely not for anyone under them.

Wherever you have Hurts ranked, his year-over-year ascension up the charts is stunning, but based on what we watched all season, is warranted.

Perhaps that’s the best way to remember Super Bowl 57 for fellow heartbroken Eagles fans.

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