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Bob Angelo

Thoughts On The Game
  • Writer's pictureBob Angelo

Jalen Hurts Arrives

When the Philadelphia Eagles selected Jalen Hurts with the 53rd overall pick of the 2020 draft, Philly wondered WTF? Carson Wentz was the so-called franchise quarterback, right?

Folks at my golf club know I worked four-decades-plus at NFL Films.

So prior to the start of the 2022 season, they wanted my opinion on the Philadelphia Eagles.

“They’ll go as far as their quarterback (Jalen Hurts) takes them,” I said often, with a hint of doubt clearly present in my voice.

My standard summation at the time: Hurts pulls it down and runs right too much. He can’t throw quick slants accurately or deep sideline balls on time with enough strength. In short, he’s a good citizen and teammate with limited NFL upside.

I forgot that this 24-year-old passer was still learning and developing, that his skills, smarts, and mind set allowed for continued growth and maturation. My bad!

In my defense, who knew the Tennessee Titans would trade their best receiver to Philadelphia?

Or that RPO’s would become vital components of every Eagles’ offensive game plan?

Or most importantly, that Jalen Hurts would incorporate both into his repertoire while taking a quantum leap towards NFL superstardom?

Some quarterbacks mature quickly (Patrick Mahomes). Some peak early then fade away almost as fast (Carson Wentz). Some teams fashion their offenses around a QB’s skill set (Lamar Jackson or Josh Allen). Most great QBs rise to the occasion when opportunity presents itself (Tom Brady & Aaron Rodgers).

Jalen Hurts has experienced most of the above, especially the last two.

As a freshman at Alabama, he took the Tide to the National Championship game then lost it to Clemson. The following season Hurts was benched in the title game, and Tua Tagovailoa came to Alabama’s rescue, costing Hurts his starting QB job.

In Jalen’s final year of college eligibility, now with the Oklahoma Sooners, Hurts’ new team lost to Joe Burrow’s LSU Tigers in the championship. Though second to Burrow in Heisman Trophy balloting, Hurts’ NFL prospects seemed uncertain.

Twas then I remembered a conversation I once had with Brian Billick.

When I told Brian that over the long term, about half of the college QBs drafted in the first round seemed to make very little impact in the NFL, Billick told me the number was much, much higher, more than two thirds.

So I gave Jalen Hurts the benefit of the doubt and waited to see whether he would go the way of his predecessor, or elevate himself to a championship level.

When the Eagles were flirting with a perfect 2022 season, I realized my summation of Hurt’s 2021 performance was damning at best, but my prediction for the Eagles’ 2022 success was RTFO. While Carson Wentz was catching splinters riding the bench in Washington, Jalen Hurts was delivering MVP level performances weekly.

Quantum leaps to stardom are fun to watch.

Mahomes’ meteoric rise and continued greatness make for magic every time he lines up behind center. Baltimore and Buffalo my someday ride their quarterback’s consummate athleticism to Lombardi trophies. Mahomes, Brady and Rodgers all own Super Bowl championship rings.

One too many RPO’s has sidelined Hurts’ Super Bowl express momentarily, but the young man overcame obstacles and demotions before. In my opinion, barring major injury, Jalen Hurts’ skill set coupled with his quiet determination will yield dividends in Philadelphia for many years to come—hopefully sooner than later!

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