Dynamic, dual-threat quarterbacks have stolen the show and are now winning NFL MVP Awards. It started with Patrick Mahomes in 2018 before the award went to Lamar Jackson in 2019.
In 2020, dual-threat quarterback Josh Allen became a favorite to win the award that eventually went to Green Bay Packers quarterback, Aaron Rodgers. Meanwhile, Jackson regressed in 2019 and Mahomes has morphed into more of a traditional pocket passer.
All eyes were also on Kyler Murray. But as the old MVP Award thing goes – it’s never going to one of the league’s better quarterbacks on a subpar team.
Now, eyes rest on Jalen Hurts, since the scrambler is in the same mold as Jackson and Murray.
Today’s post debates the issue.
The Short Answer for Jalen Hurts is No
Listen carefully: Jalen Hurts is neither Kyler Murray nor Lamar Jackson. Murray is a far more accurate passer who compares more favorably to Russell Wilson in terms of size and playing style.
Jackson is an old-school quarterback. The old, “running back who can throw” that was so popular with those collegiate wishbone formations in the 1970s and 1980s. And while Jackson struggles to throw the ball when his running lanes are in check, his struggles aren’t entirely his fault.
Like Allen, Hurts never put up stellar numbers in college. He had a higher completion percentage and overall better numbers, but they never lit up the stat sheet. He was very average until he transferred to Oklahoma.
Also, like Allen, Hurts struggled with his accuracy, completing just 52 percent of his passes during his rookie season.
About the same as Allen. It also took Allen until his third season to enter his name into the NFL MVP Race. But, Allen also had a much better football team.
So with Hurts, he doesn’t have Jackson’s throwing mechanics, and he doesn’t have the talented team Allen had and has in Buffalo. It’s safe to say the talent around Allen, like the talent around Jackson, inflates his player prop value.
Hurts is seeing his offense deteriorate, starting with the release of DeSean Jackson, while Zach Ertz and Alshon Jeffery may also be out the door. That leaves 2020 first-round pick Jalen Reagor and Dallas Goedert as the top pass catchers. Neither of which has shown enough to be a primary target.
Jalen Hurts Can Become a Wise Player Props Bet
But Hurts can become a wise player props bet if you decide to place your bets later in the summer. We still have free agency and the NFL Draft looming, so a lot can change between now and when training camp begins in July.
Hurts needs a lot of supplementation if he’s becoming a wise player props bet. He has 2 decent running backs in Boston Scott and Miles Sanders. But given the type of quarterback he is, chances are he’ll need a third back to give the Eagles a well-rounded backfield committee.
Also, the Eagles would benefit from adding at least a primary pass catcher. Goedert can develop into a solid TE1, but chances are teams will double up on him if he’s the top option. Reagor has shown nothing thus far regarding his status as a first-round pick.
For Hurts to become a wise player props bet, he needs more than what the Eagles are giving him. Jeffery is most likely gone. But he will benefit if they hold on to Ertz. However, he’s a prime cut or trade candidate heading into the new league year, and it could send Hurts’ player props plummeting.
However, getting rid of Jeffery and Ertz opens a lot of cap space. So you can expect the Eagles to hit home in the free agent market with a potential big name target. That’s if their targets at receiver believe the team can be successful long term. And so far, the Eagles have shown little.
It will be more than a challenge to lure free agents into a new culture in Philadelphia. And even harder given the unproven nature at quarterback.
Jalen Hurts Will Benefit from the Baltimore Ravens Approach
If the Eagles want to help Hurts maximize his potential success, they need to design the offense to fit his skill set. If they do, Hurts just become a better player props bet from a change in the system alone.
Because it will show that he won’t throw the ball 30 to 40 times a game, and quarterbacks whose offenses fit their skill sets thrive when they otherwise wouldn’t.
Lamar Jackson is a prime example. When asked to throw the ball over 29 times a game, Jackson struggles. He’s one of a few system quarterbacks, with others being Baker Mayfield, Ryan Tannehill, and Kirk Cousins, who are stellar products of the system.
Instead, the system must elevate Hurts’ style of play, much like the systems regarding Mayfield, Jackson, Tannehill, and Cousins.
Look at Mayfield, who averaged just 30.3 passing attempts per game in 2020, as opposed to 33.3 in 2019. Or Tannehill, who averaged 23.7 in 2019 and just 30 in 2020.
And we can also look at Jackson, who averaged just 25 passing attempts per game in 2020, down from 26.7 in 2019. Also, note that Jackson didn’t even hit the 3,000-yard mark. However, he ran the ball 159 times, rushed for over 1,000 yards, and posted 7 rushing touchdowns.
It’s clear that the system makes Jackson, and the quarterbacks mentioned above. For the Titans, Browns, and Vikings, it’s a solid running back leading the charge while the quarterback throws when they must. Often underneath to tight ends in crossing routes, often highlighted with play-action.
For Hurts, who is more in the Lamar Jackson mold with his speed, it’s his player prop would skyrocket if the Eagles limit his passing attempts to 25 per game or under, and would rush him between 12 and 20 times per game.
We must ask ourselves whether head coach Nick Sirianni is the “my way or the highway coach,” or if he’s cool with conforming his system to fit that of his players. If he’s willing to sacrifice ego to benefit Hurts, then Hurts may outperform his projected player props.
However, if Sirianni would rather coach the Eagles using his own systems and finding players to fit the system, Hurts will wear a different uniform in 2022. The Eagles must recognize Hurts is a system quarterback. If they do, then Hurts is one to watch and to place a potential bet.
For Jalen Hurts to Become a Wise Player Props Bet…
The Eagles must sign or draft another back. Boston Scott is a great change-of-pace runner, and Miles Sanders is a fantastic lead back. Hurts can also hurt opponents with his legs. But for the Eagles to maximize what should become a run-first approach, they need one more guy.
The Baltimore Ravens used this approach in 2020 with Jackson, Mark Ingram, J.K. Dobbins, and Gus Edwards. The same thing can happen in Philadelphia. Especially with the offensive firepower they have in the backfield.
They must also find at least one more viable tight end. Ideally, Zach Ertz stays. But he’s aging and is a potential cap hit, so it may make more sense to release him and sign a solid TE2, while replacing Ertz at TE1 with Dallas Goedert.
Jalen Reagor did nothing to solidify himself as a legit WR1 in 2020, and both DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery are not the answers. Jackson’s already gone. And Jeffery will probably follow him out. The Eagles need at least one more receiver via free agency or the draft.
But they can also overhaul the entire offense and offensive system within a single season.
The short answer is that Jalen Hurts will struggle in 2021 and that he will not become a wise player props bet. Given the new regime in Philadelphia and head coach Nick Sirianni looking to build a team around his own quarterback potentially, Hurts could become fodder for a first-round pick at the position.
If they tweak the playbook to fit his skill-set, the team is already halfway there. Give him another running back and 2 more pass catchers, and he will become a decent player props option. Would you place a player props bet on Hurts in 2021 at any of the top online sportsbooks? Let us know in the comments.