NFL fans will have to wait a while to see how Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts does at the next level. Hurts started the 2017 National Championship as a true freshman, a rarity at both Alabama and in college football. Hurts is just 18 years old but playing at the highest level a college football player can play.
Under the current NFL rules, the soonest Hurts could declare for the NFL Draft would be in 2019 after his junior season. Just because it is years away does not mean people have not already begun talking about Hurts as an NFL prospect.
One NFL scout told Bleacher Report there are shades of Russell Wilson in Hurts game.
“He’s got an NFL arm and great escapability, but he’s still a work in progress in the passing game. He’s the kind of player Bear Bryant would have loved: tough and smart and a total team-first player. The NFL will be watching him closely for the next few years,” the scout told Bleacher Report.
“Continued improvement from Hurts is a scary proposition for opposing SEC teams as his running ability has brought a different dynamic to the Alabama offense…While Hurts has the arm to challenge defenses down the field, he does leave a few throws on the table…The overall body of work has been extremely impressive, especially as a true freshman on the defending national champions,” Pro Football Focus notes.
One former Alabama player believes Hurts has already shown he can take his game to the next level. According to Rivals, Hurts was a four-star prospect out of Channelview, Texas and was ranked as the ninth quarterback prospect. Former offensive lineman Barrett Jones spoke with Bleacher Report about his transition from high school to college.
“The jump from high school to Alabama is so much bigger than the jump from Alabama to the NFL. So what Jalen is doing is truly incredible, adjusting to the speed of the SEC. And he’s basically learned an entire new language in a few months, because that’s what it’s like when you’re trying to understand the offense at Alabama. I don’t know if people understand just how difficult that is,” Jones told Bleacher Report.
Hurts threw for 2,649 yards, 22 touchdowns and 9 interceptions his freshman season at Alabama. Hurts is far from the “game manager” that many of the Alabama quarterbacks under Nick Saban have been. Hurts also rushed for 891 yards and 12 touchdowns.
At 6’1″ and 201 pounds, Hurts is slightly undersized for an NFL quarterback. According to NFLDraftScout.com, Hurts is the fifth ranked quarterback of the 2020 class. USC’s Sam Darnold is their top prospect in the class after his amazing Rose Bowl performance. Hurts has plenty of time to improve his stock, but a national championship would be a good way to start.