Jalen Hurts could be the long-term solution for the Pittsburgh Steelers at quarterback.
According to Sports Illustrated’s Donnie Druin, the impending quarterback dilemma in Pittsburgh could open the door for Hurts to be drafted by one of the National Football League’s most historic franchises.
As Hall of Fame quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, reaches the end of his career, the need to prepare for the future is apparent.
While the Steelers do not have a first-round pick in this year’s draft, many experts are expecting Hurts to fall to the second or third round. The Draft Network’s Kyle Crabbs pegged Hurts as the “perfect Day 2 QB in today’s NFL.” This would allow Pittsburgh to take a chance on a strong and athletic quarterback with potential.
Hurts would have the ability to learn the professional game under Roethlisberger for a few years and sharpen his skills to be able to lead a Steelers squad that is continuing to accumulate talent at different positions.
The Heisman Trophy finalist could potentially be a steal for an organization that saw underwhelming quarterback play from both of Roethlisberger’s understudies in the 2019 season.
Here’s a deeper look at Hurts’ history, collegiate career and what makes him an intriguing NFL draft prospect.
Jalen Hurts’ Legs Can Lead to Wins
While his passing numbers have been pedestrian at times in his career, his legs have been valuable in producing wins for his team. As a starter in 2016 and 2017 for Alabama, he led his squad in carries and rushing yards in both games against stout LSU defenses that were ripe with NFL talent.
Hurts has an average QBR of 64.6 in his two matchups against the Tigers. Yet, Hurts averages 79 yards per game on the ground, his legs were instrumental in leading Alabama to victories over their SEC West foe.
Hurts’ Ranked in Top-10 of 4 Major Passing Categories
For a quarterback whose passing struggles saw him replaced on the biggest stage in college football, Hurts has bounced back in his last two seasons to become a much-improved passer.
In a backup role to Tua Tagovailoa in 2018, Hurts saw a huge jump in his passing efficiency. Hurts’ completion percentage skyrocketed from 60 percent in 2017 to 72 percent in 2018. His passer rating also saw mass improvement when it increased 46 points from 150.7 in 2017 to 196.7 in 2018.
In his only year as a sooner, Hurts finished the regular season leading the FBS in passing yards per completion. He was also third in passing efficiency, fourth in completion percentage and sixth in passing yards.
Hurts Is the Only QB to Lead 2 Different Teams to the CFB Playoff
Hurts made it to four-straight College Football Playoffs, and three of those appearances to college football’s promised land have been as a starting quarterback.
Hurts is the only quarterback in college football history to lead his team to the playoffs in three different years. The first two appearances were as the starting signal-caller under Nick Saban in 2016 and 2017.
Hurts is the only quarterback to lead two different schools to College Football Playoff appearances.
Hurts Has Had 6 Offensive Coaches in 4 Years
Oklahoma Head Coach, Lincoln Riley, is the sixth offensive play-caller Hurts has had in his four years of collegiate football. That amount of turnover could spell doom for almost any young quarterback but it hasn’t seemed to stop Hurts.
Familiarity is vital in most working relationships to help foster the most productive environment. For Hurts, however, he just hasn’t been awarded that luxury.
At Alabama Hurts worked with a myriad of offensive coordinators. Lane Kiffin, Steve Sarkisian, Mike Locksley, Josh Gattis and Brian Daboll all were influential in the play-calling duties at Alabama. Hurts was forced to be flexible and learn how to adapt to new circumstances at an alarming rate.
Then under Riley, he was forced to adjust again. Hurts play while enduring these circumstances help make his accomplishments that much more impressive. He was able to find a way to perform without a true sense of comfort in his offensive that is usually awarded to most seasoned college quarterbacks.
Jalen Hurts is Loyal
His first college home in Tuscaloosa, Alabama helped make Hurts who he is today. His time at Alabama saw him become both a phenom and an afterthought.
From starting a national championship game as a true freshman to being benched for an entire season, the road at Alabama was bumpy, to say the least. Yet, for Hurts and the Alabama fan base, the love still remains despite the circumstances of the last four years
In an interview with ESPN, Hurts said in regards to Nick Saban’s program that “they’ll always have a special place in my heart.” He also referred to Alabama as “the place where I’ll always be remembered.”