2020 Raiders Draft Prospect Profile
Name: Jalen Hurts
Weight 220 pounds
In a sport that requires immediate success and capitalizing on the moment, Hurts rightfully stayed in college. Although he transferred, the point remains. No other aspect saw him improve more than accuracy. During his backup year, behind Tua Tagovailoa, Hurts started the process. When he left Tuscaloosa, Hurts completely altered his approach.
If you watch his early Alabama tape, he would depend on the athleticism of his receivers to make adjustments to his passes. As time passed, those wildly errant throws began to find the receivers in stride. Not to mention, Hurts’ yards per attempt skyrocketed during his year in Norman. 11.7 yards is an astronomical number that few reach. Granted, Hurts’ accuracy rarely led to interceptions, as he maintains a 4:1 touchdown to interception ratio. Picks were never the problem, touch was. Now, Hurts looks comfortable in throwing through smaller windows and fitting the ball between defenders.
As mentioned, Hurts’ improved accuracy saw an improvement to his entire game. With arm strength, there was an effect. Hurts shows no delay in wanting to test secondaries deep. First, his ball looks crisper, tighter spiral and excellent velocity. at the next level, watch for him to continue to attack.
Used primarily out of the shotgun, Hurts will need to get acclimated under center. He does possess the feet to allow for a fluid dropback. In addition, he can move the pocket, always keeping his eyes downfield. As for his throwing mechanics, Hurts cleaned up the formerly haphazard winging you saw at times at Alabama. At the next level, he will further need to create a repeatable motion that becomes more muscle memory and less mechanical.
Rushing for three thousand yards and over forty touchdowns, the skills are present. Hurts, not only gets to speed in an eye-blink, he does processes on the fly. Either on the perimeter or up the middle, he shows plus acceleration for a quarterback. On top of that, he presents enough wiggle to make defenders miss, grabbing for air
If the play isn’t there, Hurts won’t be either. At Oklahoma, he went through his progressions before taking off. Plus, Hurts is coachable. At Alabama, he did not publicly grouse about his demotion. Taking it in stride only provided him motivation.
The Raiders currently employ Derek Carr as the starter. Granted, under Gruden, Carr reached highs in completion percentage. Yet, something seems missing. In six years, Derek Carr reached his apparent ceiling, an accurate passer with a strong arm. However, what he lacks is the ability to adjust and take control of the situation, whether with his feet or taking vertical shots. Carr appears reticent to take chances, even when receivers look open.
If Carr wasn’t protected by a stout offensive line, you could understand the hesitation. Yet, the Raiders invested draft capital and money into providing him with a line that keeps him clean. Carr’s apparent passivity continues to stymie the growth of the offense. With the NFL evolving quicker at quarterback, the Raiders need to look towards the future.
While Derek Carr’s dead cap money falls to five million, the Raiders need to keep him on the roster next year. If they draft Hurts, they can sit him a year to learn behind Carr and prepare for the future. Hurts gives the Raiders a dual threat under center that possesses the arm and mentality to challenge defenses. More importantly, combining with Josh changes the culture and dynamic.
Hurts and Jacobs have familiarity from their Alabama days. On top of that, Hurts would finally give Jon Gruden his chance to develop his own young quarterback. Remember, Derek Carr entered his fifth year when he took the job. In Hurts, Gruden can finally bolster his reputation as a quarterback guru. With the successes of Jackson, Watson, and Prescott, you know Gruden wants his shot at creating his own star passer. Jalen Hurts is not a finished product, heading into the draft. Yet, he displays a base and a ceiling that the Raiders can fine tune into a dynamic starter.