Jalen Hurts’ rise to NFL stardom is shocking in several ways. The Philadelphia Eagles drafted a multi-talented signal-caller in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft, much to the chagrin of the fanbase.
At the time, the Eagles had just signed franchise QB Carson Wentz to an extension, so the selection of Hurts not only sent shockwaves across the NFL landscape but also throughout the Eagles’ front office and organization. The front office prioritizes depth at the game’s most important position, but the selection remained a head-scratcher.
Hurts was a well-respected leader and had a prolific collegiate career at Alabama and Oklahoma. Many NFL Draft analysts viewed Hurts as a work in progress, some even comparing him to a gadget player like Taysom Hill of the New Orleans Saints.
Hurts has come a long way, developing into an NFL MVP-caliber player and leading the Philadelphia Eagles to the Super Bowl. It’s critical to look back on how far Hurts has come in such a short period.
Why Jalen Hurts Was Benched in College
Hurts had a well-publicized benching during his time at Alabama. He previously led the Crimson Tide to the National Championship as a Freshman, falling short to the Clemson Tigers and Deshaun Watson.
Can we take a second to evaluate that part of the story? People forget Hurts had the type of leadership and makeup that legendary head coach Nick Saban named him the Alabama starter as a true freshman. Hurts played well enough in the national title game to win but was outdone by a legendary performance from the Tigers.
We made it to Mississippi State hate week!
Watch Philadelphia Eagles duo Jalen Hurts and Devonta Smith clutch a win against the Bulldogs on the road: pic.twitter.com/hWbJoJtk06
— Sidelines – Bama (@SSN_Alabama) September 25, 2023
Hurts led the Crimson Tide to the Natty again, but this time, his first-half performance was a disaster. Hurts didn’t play well against a daunting Georgia defense, and the Bulldogs appeared to be on the verge of a win. Saban decided to bring in backup QB Tua Tagovailoa, and the rest is history.
Jalen Hurts and DeVonta Smith make former Ole Miss WR AJ Brown pay the price after loss to Alabama 😂😂 pic.twitter.com/UdRoChHbp5
— Touchdown Alabama (@TDAlabamaMag) September 24, 2023
Tagovailoa sparked the offense and led Alabama to a comeback victory in overtime, cementing the championship with a TD pass to Hurts’ current teammate, Eagles receiver DeVonta Smith. The QB torch was passed from Hurts to Tagovailoa, and it was now his team. Hurts remained in Tuscaloosa for one more season as Tagovailoa’s backup.
Alabama’s coaching staff benched Hurts because the offense was more dynamic under Tagovailoa, a more talented thrower of the football at the time, and the coaching staff made the wise decision to go with the better player. Hurts took the decision in stride, and the benching made him a better player.
Jalen Hurts is literally Coach Saban reincarnated pic.twitter.com/tzpbMu8qO8
— Barstool Bama (@BarstoolAlabama) September 22, 2023
Hurts transferred to Oklahoma, where he had one of the most prolific seasons in college football, developing in one year in Lincoln Riley’s offense. Hurts continued his development at the NFL level under Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni, former offensive coordinator Shane Steichen, and current offensive coordinator Brian Johnson.