2020 NFL Draft: Jalen Hurts can be a Fantasy difference maker, but probably not in Philadelphia

The three quarterbacks taken in the top 10 of the NFL Draft all landed in pretty great spots, with plenty of talent and a path to a starting role as soon as this year. However, Jalen Hurts joined Jordan Love among the quarterbacks who are going to have to sit and wait after the Eagles selected him with the No. 54 pick in the second round Friday.

And that’s a bit of a disappointing outcome for Fantasy players. Hurts was always likely going to have to sit to start his NFL career, given concerns that he isn’t quite ready to be an NFL quarterback. However, there’s a difference between sitting behind Jarrett Stidham and sitting behind Carson Wentz, who is just 27 and is working on a contract extension that takes him through the 2024 season, with significant dead cap money until at least after 2022. We won’t see Hurts for a long time, if things go right for the Eagles, so this probably isn’t an heir-apparent situation.

Of course, things haven’t always gone right for the Eagles when it comes to Wentz, who has played a full 16 games just once, and dealt with several injuries he was able to play through in 2019. Wentz’s backups have had plenty of opportunities in the past — Nick Foles made himself quite a bit of money filling in for Wentz, if you’ll remember.

So, there’s always the chance Hurts sees the field sooner than later, but he won’t be a full-time starter anytime soon. That is definitely disappointing, because he could be a fantastic Fantasy option if he works out. That starts, of course, with his rushing ability.

Hurts ran a 4.59 40-yard dash, and he did that at 222 pounds, an elite combination of speed and size for the position; that’s faster than Deshaun Watson at the same weight. Hurts used that speed to rush for at least 855 yards in all three seasons as a starter. He had 1,298 and 20 touchdowns as a senior at Oklahoma, while also passing for 3,851 yards and 32 touchdowns.

That Oklahoma offense has produced a ton of production at the quarterback position in recent years, and Hurts wasn’t far off the likes of Baker Mayfield or Kyler Murray. His 11.3 yards per attempt ranks in the 98th percentile among draft-eligible quarterbacks, and his 89.7 QBR is in the 95th percentile. And, while he was a senior, Hurts won’t even be 22 years old until training camp is well under way, because he started as an 18-year-old true freshman at Alabama.

There are questions about whether Hurts will be able to pass effectively enough at the NFL level to be a starter, and we won’t get an opportunity to find out for a while. He won’t be Fantasy relevant without an injury as a rookie, but if Wentz does go down, Hurts could make a similar impact to what Lamar Jackson did in his rookie season taking over for Joe Flacco.

Hurts is just a late-round option, even in Dynasty formats, thanks to the landing spot. He might see some of the field in a Taysom Hill-esque role, but that won’t be enough to make him Fantasy relevant. That’s disappointing, given the Fantasy upside, but don’t let Hurts get too far out of your mind, because if anything happens to Wentz, you’ll want him around in all formats. 

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