Jalen Hurts isn’t perceived as one of the top quarterback prospects in the 2020 NFL Draft, but because of all the success he had in college at both Alabama and Oklahoma, he sure is one helluva intriguing player. That’s because the dude went a combined 38-4 at his time as a starter in Tuscaloosa and Norman, showing how he could adapt to two different systems, while still being productive AF thanks to his dynamic skillset.
It’s because of that versatility that has some NFL teams really interested in Jalen Hurts as they prep for the draft this week. In fact, according to longtime ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr., Hurts is getting the attention of the New England Patriots, who reportedly view him as a change-of-pace signal-caller, similar to how the Baltimore Ravens utilized Lamar Jackson during his rookie campaign.
With the Patriots thin at quarterback after Tom Brady left for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, there have been a number of rumors about what they might do. They’ve been linked to Andy Dalton in the past, while more recently guys like Cam Newton in free agency and even Tua Tagovailoa in the NFL Draft — with speculation the team could trade up for the lefty passer. It’s time to add Hurts’ name to that list, because Kiper Jr. thinks the Pats have eyes on the kid.
Recently appearing on Ordway, Merloni & Fauria, Mel Kiper Jr. detailed what he’s heard about the Patriots’ interest in Jalen Hurts, so take a look below at his words.
“There’s word out that they like Jalen Hurts from Oklahoma,” he said. “He can be used in packages and do with him what they did with Lamar Jackson his rookie year in Baltimore.”
Kiper added: “There’s talk they could look at Jalen Hurts. I’m not buying No. 23 but, if they move out of the first round they could they look at Jalen Hurts in the second. Pittsburgh, I had heard has an interest. I don’t know if it is true. That is why I gave him to the Steelers as the heir apparent to Big Ben (Roethlisberger) if he’s capable of being that guy. I think Hurts is the interesting guy right now at quarterback. He’s moved up probably as much as anybody.”
This would be a pretty interesting move by Bill Belichick and New England, and would be something they haven’t had in the past 20 years since Brady took over under center during the 2001 season. If they are, in fact, eyeing Jalen Hurts as a change-of-pace quarterback, it opens up lots of possibilities for the coaching staff, giving them options that have, seemingly, never been there.
Plus, while nobody’s necessarily talking about Hurts becoming a superstar and a league MVP in his second season — like Lamar Jackson did in 2019 — maybe Belichick and the Pats see the guy as a legit candidate to become the starting quarterback either at some point in 2020 or beyond.
Overall, Mel Kiper Jr. sees Jalen Hurts as a solid prospect, and added his thoughts on why a team like New England may be interested in adding him to their roster.
“A talent who is a winner,” he said. “He’s got great character as a quarterback that nobody would ever believe when you saw him at Alabama early on that he would be in this position. … He goes to Oklahoma after making progress as a passer at Alabama, he goes to Oklahoma and he has a big year. Who knows if he doesn’t have a big year for Lincoln Riley with the receivers and the competition you face in the Big 12 on defense. You’re going to put up big numbers, but his numbers were improved in a lot of areas.
“To me, you’ll get seeing the field. He’s not Tua, he’s not even close. He is not what you want him to be yet. Now, can he? We’ll see. He showed a NFL arm all year. He was impressive at the combine. He ran 4.59 (seconds in 40-yard dash). He had 43 career rushing touchdowns. People have seen what Lamar Jackson has done. People see what Taysom Hill is doing in New Orleans and it is a copycat league.”
After getting a raw deal at Alabama by being replaced by Tua in the College Football National Championship in 2018, maybe Jalen Hurts will have the last laugh, be drafted by the Patriots, see some success his rookie year, and then become the starting quarterback by year two.