Former Alabama and Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts is emerging as a shock candidate to be drafted in the first round. The odds of the Texan-born star being taken in the opening round of this year’s NFL Draft opened at +2000 with DraftKings, but now sit at just +1000 having been as long as +1800 just two weeks ago.
There have been question marks around the QB’s downfield accuracy since his time at Alabama but last year, as a Sooner, Hurts continued to develop and put up some hugely improved numbers, amongst the best in the collegiate game.
Amongst the teams monitoring the QB have been the Chargers and the Packers, according to NFL insider Ian Rapoport, but with his ability as a dual-threat QB, and the recent success of Lamar Jackson, he’s going to be closely monitored by a number of teams.
Whilst it seems set in stone that Joe Burrow is selected first overall, with Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert both consensus Top-10 picks, there is real belief that Hurts could get taken at the end of the first-round.
Selected odds to be a First Round pick:
There is a growing sense that Hurts could be selected by a team who have a veteran incumbent quarterback, giving him time to hone his craft as a backup before taking the starters job in time. The Patriots too could be a surprise package, with Bill Belichick a close friend of Hurts’ former Head Coach Nick Saban, who would be effusive of Hurts’ character and skillset, even if he did chose to replace Hurts with Tua Tagovailoa.
Hurts became the first true Freshman to start at QB for Alabama for 32 years when he got the starting role in 2016, before leading Alabama to the National Championship game, which he ultimately lost. He led the team back to the Championship game in his sophomore season, but was benched at halftime for Tagovailoa, who won the game and ultimately the starting job the following season. Last year Hurts transferred to Oklahoma, leading the team to a Big 12 Championship before losing to a Joe-Burrow led LSU in the College Football Playoff.
Jalen Hurts isn’t the home-run hit that Joe Burrow will be, but he could well be a successful quarterback in the National Football League. If he lands at the right franchise, and given time to develop his game, perhaps starting as a backup, he has the potential to develop into a Dak Prescott style QB.
There’s been a growing buzz around Hurts of late, which has seen his odds slashed in half. With a lot of teams needing quarterbacks in the near future there is a growing market for Hurts at that tail end of the first-round, with the potential for some teams to consider trading up to grab the former Heisman-runner up. If the buzz continues to grow then those odds will shorten even further.