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Can Jalen Hurts Become the Next Tyrod Taylor?

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The Crimson Tide quarterback will only get better.

NCAA Football: CFP National Championship-Clemson vs Alabama Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

In last Tuesday’s Jumbo Package, there was a link to an article musing whether Jalen Hurts is NFL-ready. The original source’s hook was based on a hypothetical what-if the NFL had a one-and-done rule like the NBA employs. #OffSeasonFodder While the unanimous thought is that heck no he is not ready, it is no knock against the Crimson Tide quarterback. Football is a physically punishing sport and the NFL is no place for a teenager.

However back here in the real world, there is a good chance that Hurts could become a starting quarterback in the NFL. For the quarterback position, the college game has seen a faster evolution than that of the NFL. In the pro ranks, the top field generals like Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Ryan, Eli Manning, etc. are still the flat-footed big-arms who will run the ball as the very last resort. Yet there is a wave of younger QBs who can actually pass and run the ball. While 4 out of 5 dentists surveyed recommend not making RPOs a regular staple of the NFL quarterback’s game plan, scrambling for yardage can be effective when things break down.

It may or may not surprise some of you that only ten NFL QBs had over 200 yards rushing last season (it should not surprise you that Brady had only 64). Atop of that heap was Tyrod Taylor by a wide margin:

Name Rush Yds Avg TD 1st # <0 Yds Fum Lost 1st 2nd 3rd 4th
Tyrod Taylor 95 580 6.1 6 26 6 -18 4 2 253 177 135 32
Colin Kaepernick 69 468 6.8 2 25 3 -9 9 3 181 107 199 8
Blake Bortles 65 395 6.1 4 19 3 -8 8 6 135 125 111 22
Aaron Rodgers 67 369 5.5 4 22 2 -5 8 4 132 107 133 7
Cam Newton 90 359 4.0 5 19 5 -16 2 2 138 93 122 3
Marcus Mariota 59 357 6.1 2 18 1 -2 9 5 125 139 93 0
Andrew Luck 63 351 5.6 2 19 0 0 5 5 116 86 160 17
Dak Prescott 57 282 5.0 6 13 1 -1 9 4 119 118 65 2
Russell Wilson 72 259 3.6 1 14 6 -18 8 3 142 66 66 0
Matthew Stafford 37 207 5.6 2 12 0 0 3 2 41 66 104 3

(# <0 stands for Rushes Less Than Zero Yards)

Overall, Taylor was 28th in the League in rushing yards.

As a four year starter at Virginia Tech, his numbers certainly do not overwhelm the stats from Hurts’ first Alabama campaign.

TYROD TAYLOR, VA TECH

PASSING RUSHING
YEAR ATT CMP PCT YDS AVG TD INT RAT ATT YDS AVG TD
2007 134 72 53.7 927 6.9 5 3 119.7 102 420 4.1 6
2008 173 99 57.2 1036 6 2 7 103.2 147 738 5 7
2009 243 136 56 2311 9.5 13 5 149.4 106 370 3.5 5
2010 315 188 59.7 2743 8.7 24 5 154.8 146 659 4.5 5
TOTAL 865 495 226.6 7017 31.1 44 20 527.1 501 2187 17.1 23

JALEN HURTS, ALABAMA

PASSING RUSHING
YEAR ATT CMP PCT YDS AVG TD INT RAT ATT YDS AVG TD
2016 382 240 62.8 2780 7.3 23 9 139.1 191 954 5 13

While Hurts may not appear to resemble what Taylor has become just yet, check out some of the pre-2011 NFL Draft thoughts on the former Hokie.

From CBSSports’ Rob Rang:

The 2010 ACC Offensive Player of the Year, Taylor set a variety of Hokies' records, including all-time marks for total offense, passing yards, rushing yards by a quarterback and career wins.

As an NFL draft prospect, Taylor is best described as a Wildcat QB prospect who has potential at other positions. A tremendous natural athlete with great heart and fire for the game, Taylor does not possess the pure passing ability to make an NFL roster as a quarterback, but his skill set is similar to that of Jets versatile receiver/returner Brad Smith in that he will reward a creative NFL team as a special team/role player who can spice up a wildcat as a rookie and beyond.

Analysis

Positives: Three-year starter and an athletic dual-threat quarterback prospect who can make big plays with his arm and his legs. Demonstrates good accuracy when using proper footwork and decent arm strength. Had an outstanding 24-5 TD/INT ratio as a senior, when his ability to read defenses improved vastly. Very fast and elusive. Has the athletic ability to be projected as a running back or wide receiver.

Negatives: Awkward delivery includes a wind-up and a hitch in the throwing motion, with his wrist turned with the ball almost 180 degrees before the elbow moves forward. Whether the NFL wishes to correct that may depend on his role -- as a gadget quarterback who plays wide receiver, he could get away with it. Holds the ball too long in the pocket. Doesn't secure the ball when running. Loses accuracy when he doesn't maintain proper footwork.

Continuing on that theme:

From NFL.com

Overview

Taylor is a hard working kid that has improved every year, but it is unclear if he can play quarterback at the next level. He has a quick release and a strong arm, but he is somewhat erratic as a passer. He also does not show the consistent sound decision making to be an efficient quarterback. His greatest asset is his athleticism and he should be able to contribute immediately as a running back, receiver or return man. A terrific senior season, where he completed nearly 60% of his passes, has helped his draft stock and he could sneak into the third round.

Analysis

Strengths

Taylor is an excellent athlete with a thick muscular build. Has excellent mobility and continually evades the rush while keeping his eyes downfield. Has above average arm strength and flashes the ability to fit the ball into tight windows on short to intermediate routes. Team leader and fierce competitor.

Weaknesses

Does not possess adequate height and too many of his passes are knocked down at the line. Sloppy footwork prevents him from stepping into throws making him an erratic passer. Locks onto receivers and often telegraphs his throws. Struggles breaking down coverage and makes too many ill-advised throws.

At the 2011 NFL Combine, Taylor measured 6'1" and 217 lbs. Despite what the video above says, he ran a 4.47 in the 40-yard dash - fastest among QBs that year.

Hurts is currently listed at 6'2" and 214. He was timed at 4.48 seconds in the 40 during Alabama spring workouts this past March.

As for Tyrod Taylor, he was drafted by the Ravens in the sixth round of the 2011 Draft, the 11th quarterback selected that year, behind someone named Nathan Enderle. He sat on the bench behind Joe Flacco for four years before signing with the Bills as a free agent. He made the Pro Bowl in his first year in Buffalo but was not picked this past season despite almost identical stats. The strength of his game is his allusiveness while still being able to throw the deep pass. See if his game looks familiar to you:

Many of the numbers and measurables compare but Hurts still has room for improvement. Fortunately for him, he will have former NFL Offensive Coordinator Brian Daboll to tutor him.

Jalen Hurts could become the next Tyrod Taylor. But then again, he could be better.

Poll

Will Jalen Hurts be good enough to play QB in the NFL?

This poll is closed

  • 21%
    Yes! He will start as a rookie.
    (98 votes)
  • 56%
    He may need to be a back-up for a few years but will eventually become a starter.
    (261 votes)
  • 16%
    He may seem spot duty but mostly a back-up.
    (77 votes)
  • 3%
    He might be better at another position.
    (17 votes)
  • 2%
    Other (see my charming witticisms in comments).
    (11 votes)
464 votes total Vote Now