Jalen Hurts - The Phuture of the Eagles?


Photo by Mark J. Rebilas - USA TODAY Sports


The tension in the Philadelphia locker room drove the narrative that either Wentz or Hurts would be on the move before the start of the season. After Howie Roseman brought in Nick Sirianni to replace Doug Pederson, signs were pointing to Wentz as the week 1 starter. At the end of the day, the Eagles were open to moving either Quarterback for the right price. The price for Wentz was a couple of 1st round picks and a veteran defensive back. With Wentz out, the offense is now run by second-year Quarterback, Jalen Hurts. The young gun started 4 games in 2020. We’ll look at this small sample to build some expectations for the Eagles offense going forward.


The Quarterback

For fantasy purposes, Hurts had an instant impact on teams. Over the final four games, Hurts was the QB7, averaging nearly 24 points per game. Of those 24 PPG, 11 of them came from plays where he was the ball carrier. The math leaves 13 points per game earned with his arm, which is not promising. Hurts failed to surpass a completion percentage of 57% in his four games, but he did exceed 300 yards twice. In the four games he started he threw 5 touchdowns and 3 interceptions.


When looking at his numbers, it doesn’t tell the whole story. As a Quarterback, Hurts looks like a leader, but he doesn’t look like a great passer. He’s a better passer than Lamar Jackson was as a rookie, but not nearly as explosive with his legs. The growth opportunity for Hurts is there, but we’ll need to see him throw the ball as he did in his senior season at Oklahoma. I’d take this opportunity and, try to move Hurts for a high to mid-first. You likely drafted him in the mid-second and flipping him for the likes of Ja’Marr Chase in a Superflex league is just too rich to pass up.


The Pass Catchers

The production of the pass catchers is clearly tied to the production of the Quarterback. That’s just football. The primary concern of fantasy managers is Jalen Reagor. While he shares a name with the quarterback, it’s yet to be seen if he shares a connection. In one of his four games with Hurts, Reagor played less than 30% of snaps. In the other three, Reagor averaged 6.3 targets, 3.3 receptions, and 42 yards. He didn’t score a touchdown. Keeping in mind one of his games was truncated, he did lead the team in receiving yards from Hurts. The ceiling is still there for Reagor, but if I can flip him for a late first in Superflex, I probably would.


Hurts also loves throwing to the Tight Ends. Ertz and Goedert combined for 40 targets and 21 receptions in those four games. Each eclipsed 120 receiving yards under Hurts. It looks like we’ll be entering another year where Ertz and Goedert cannibalize production from each other, but Goedert should be the TE1 in Philadelphia going forward. If Ertz is not on the team in 2021, Goedert is a clear top 5 option at Tight End.


The Running Backs

Miles Sanders is going to be an interesting player this offseason. We know that rushing QBs often take away the touchdown upside of Running Backs. That said, 3 of Sanders’ 6 rushing TDs came with Hurts at the helm. They only played 3 games together, but he found pay dirt frequently. On top of that, Sanders saw 13 targets in those 3 games. Those targets turned into 9 receptions. Sanders was the RB7 from weeks 14-16 with Hurts playing Quarterback. Hopefully, this continues for Sanders with Sirianni at the helm, who used his RBs often with the Colts.


Conclusion

While Wentz isn’t the greatest Quarterback, he’s a better ball thrower than Hurts is at this point in his career. The passing game will likely see a downtick, but if things become focused on Reagor and Goedert, they could have a bright future. Sanders will be the hardest to read this offseason. In some leagues, he may be a buy-low candidate depending on the feelings of the person rostering him.