Jalen Hurts move from Alabama to Oklahoma has only helped his NFL draft stock. Lincoln Riley and Oklahoma has a streak of transfer quarterbacks getting selected with the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft.
Barring a late surge, that streak is likely to come to an end, but Hurts is still going to be selected in the draft. Hurts currently has a wide range of projections in the latest mock drafts with some having the Sooners quarterback landing in the second round while others project him to be a Day 3 selection. ESPN’s Mel Kiper recently projected Hurts as a fourth or fifth-round pick.
“I think he’s developing into that, and nobody ever thought that he would be based on what we saw,” Kiper said, per 247 Sports. “But the development started two years ago at Alabama. He looked like a different quarterback than what he was. It’s not just what’s happened at Oklahoma with Lincoln (Riley), who’s done a great job no question. He is a quarterback whisperer. He is a great offensive mind. But I think it started under Nick Saban at Alabama there. When you look at where Jalen is right now at Oklahoma, he could end up being a fourth- or fifth-round pick. Not early but day three is where somebody brings him into the fold.
USA Today’s Luke Easterling has Hurts going in the second round with the No. 45 overall pick to the Bears in his latest mock draft.
Jalen Hurts’ NFL Draft Profile
STRENGTHS: The big question surrounding Hurts heading into this season was his ability to play from within the pocket. Hurts has taken a step forward since arriving at Oklahoma. Heading into the Big 12 Championship, Hurts has thrown for 3,347 yards, 31 touchdowns and six interceptions while completing nearly 72 percent of his passes. Hurts continues to be lethal on the ground with 1,217 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns.
The Athletic’s Dane Brugler has Hurts as his No. 63rd prospect and seventh-ranked quarterback on his big board. This would put Hurts in the late second round to early third-round range. Here is how Brugler described Hurts’ outlook heading into the draft.
The Sooners can beat defenses in so many ways and Hurts has been a terrific point guard to facilitate and influence the scoreboard. He has widescreen vision to see everything happening at the line of scrimmage, the poise to react and the natural talent that forces defenses to respect both his arm and his legs. However, NFL teams must separate Hurts from the offensive system and forecast the ceiling of his unique skill set vs. NFL speed.
Hurts was a winner at Alabama and continued that tradition at Oklahoma. He has all the intangibles that NFL teams look for including leadership, winning percentage and the “it” factor needed to galvanize a locker room.
WEAKNESSES: At times, Hurts can be prone to making risky throws rather than checking it down or throwing the ball away. Teams will continue to watch how Hurts performs inside the pocket. If Oklahoma can make the College Football Playoff, Hurts would get another chance at playing in front of NFL scouts on a big stage. Given his experience at Alabama, Hurts has plenty of big games on film but is trying to shed the label of simply a running quarterback.
SUMMARY: Keep in mind, this time last year Kyler Murray was projected to be a Day 2 pick and on his way to play baseball. A lot can change by the time April rolls around. Hurts has a wide range of projections from rounds two through five, but a strong showing during the pre-draft process could help the Oklahoma quarterback move up as we saw with Murray and Mayfield.