Jalen Hurts among Pro Football Focus’ top 10 quarterbacks in the NFL
No university has produced quarterback play at the level of the University of Oklahoma since the turn of the century.
Look no further than ESPN’s list of the 75-best quarterbacks in college football since 2000. Six Sooners were ranked by Bill Connelly, with Baker Mayfield taking the top spot. Kyler Murray was No. 7 and Sam Bradford was No. 15. The Sooners were the only school with two quarterbacks in the top 10 and three in the top 15.
Among those ranked was Jalen Hurts, who came in at No. 25. his progression from Alabama quarterback to Oklahoma to helping Philadelphia get to the Super Bowl last season is one of the more remarkable stories we’ve seen in football over the last decade.
It’s a credit to his work ethic and how he’s been able to continually improve each offseason. With an MVP-type season in 2022, Hurts earned a spot among Pro Football Focus’ top 10 starting quarterbacks heading into the 2023 season. PFF’s Sam Monson had at No. 7 behind only Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert, Aaron Rodgers, and Lamar Jackson.
Here’s what Monson had to say.
Hurts was phenomenal in 2022, but the hardest part of that kind of play in the NFL is sustaining it. Lamar Jackson one spot above him is a great example of that. Hurts has taken big steps forward every season of his career, and if he has another one in the tank, then he is ranked too low at No. 7. Hurts averaged 8.0 yards per attempt last season and added almost 800 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground. – Monson, PFF
Jalen Hurts made a huge leap in his passing production in 2022 and it helped the Philadelphia Eagles take the next step and reach the Super Bowl. As Monson discusses, quarterbacks who predicate a large amount of their production off of the running game can have a difficult time sustaining it due to the wear and tear nature of running the football in the NFL.
But Hurts has improved every year of his quarterbacking life. So there’s reason to believe he can continue to evolve as a passer and rely less on his running ability.
On the flip side, there’s a difference between Jalen Hurts and Lamar Jackson. In the type of body style and their style of running. Hurts will take on more hits, but he’s built to better withstand the pounding.
Another quarterback worth discussing is Baker Mayfield, who made the move from the Los Angeles Rams to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looking for another opportunity to start.
It’s difficult to argue that Mayfield’s 2022 season was easily predictable, but it’s equally difficult to maintain any kind of lofty expectations for him going forward after witnessing it. His 50.6 PFF grade on the year was 13 grading points lower than his previous career-worst mark (which involved a torn shoulder), and it speaks volumes that the Rams were happy to let him walk after he led the team to a remarkable win just after stepping off the plane after they traded for him. Mayfield has very good play on his NFL resume, but it’s getting harder and harder to see it in the rearview mirror. – Monson – PFF
It hasn’t been linear growth for Mayfield at the NFL level. At the same time, he hasn’t been in the most stable situations either. One could argue that his time with Los Angeles and now in Tampa Bay are far better situations for the former No. 1 overall pick than the Cleveland Browns and Carolina Panthers.
Mayfield will get to work with one of the best and most consistent wide receivers in the NFL in Mike Evans, the former Texas A&M product. In nine seasons, Evans has nine 1,000-yard seasons and has never played fewer than 13 games in an NFL season. Evans also has four seasons with double-digit touchdown receptions.
Additionally, Mayfield will have Chris Godwin on the other side of the field to throw to. Godwin has five straight seasons of at least 800 yards receiving and has three 1,000-yard seasons in that same span.
Easily, this is the best group of wide receivers that Mayfield has worked with since he was slinging the ball to CeeDee Lamb and Marquise Brown. If he can put together a year in which Tampa Bay contends for the playoffs, he may have found his new home.
As for Kyler Murray, because he won’t be ready for the start of the 2023 season, Monson has Colt McCoy listed as the Cardinals starting quarterback.
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