Will Jalen Hurts start for the Eagles in 2021?

Carson Wentz’s NFL future has now been decided. With the QB being traded to the Indianapolis Colts, all eyes are turning to Jalen Hurts, who could be the starting quarterback for the Eagles in 2021. Can Jalen Hurts succeed as an NFL QB, given his limited experience?

Carson Wentz has played his final snap as the Eagles’ QB with Jalen Hurts set to start in 2021

Carson Wentz’s time in Philadelphia has ended with a whimper rather than a bang. During the 2020 season, his play forced the Eagles’ hand to reevaluate the position and his exorbitant contract. In 2020, Wentz completed just 57.4% of his passes with 16 touchdowns to 15 interceptions and a 72.8 passer rating. Wentz averaged 260.2 pass yards per game and 7.2 yards per attempt from 2017 to 2019.

Those numbers fell to 218.2 pass yards per game and 6.0 yards per attempt this year. Wentz’s completion percentage ranked second-to-last in the league. Furthermore, his yards per attempt, passer rating, and interception percentage (3.4%) were third-to-last this season. There’s a reason he was benched for Jalen Hurts in Week 13 after all.

Jalen Hurts will be the favorite to start in 2021

I am not going to claim he set the world on fire in his few appearances. But wow, there were some flashes of the talent he possesses. You could see a jolt of energy injected into the offense when Hurts replaced Wentz in their Week 13 game against the Green Bay Packers. Even though Hurts went 5 of 12 passing for 109 yards and 1 touchdown, the team looked alive for the first time.

That energy carried over into his next three starts

Hurts completed 54.9% of his passes for 847 yards with 5 touchdowns to 2 interceptions in his three starts while rushing 39 times for 238 yards and a score. He was the first quarterback since 1950 to throw for over 800 yards and rush for over 200 yards in his first three starts.

Related | Carson Wentz’s Contract Details, Salary Cap Impact, and Bonuses

From Week 14 through Week 16, the Eagles were first in NFL in yards per game with Hurts under center (437.3) and fourth in rushing yards per game (171.3). In contrast, in the 12 games prior with Wentz, Philadelphia was 29th in yards per game (319.1), 26th in points per game (21.1), and 14th in rushing yards per game (116.5).

Players like Miles Sanders found new lanes thanks to Hurts’ dual-threat ability, taking some focus off him. Even Jalen Reagor found some success despite Doug Pederson having him play out of position as an “X” receiver.

Show some patience for Jalen Hurts if he starts in 2021

Is Jalen Hurts inaccurate at times? Yes, he is. But unless you are Joe Burrow or Justin Herbert, what rookie isn’t in their first three games? Why is it that he isn’t getting the same level of patience and benefit of the doubt from the NFL and fantasy communities?

We have just scratched the surface of what Hurts can do in the NFL. He is a heady quarterback who can go through his progressions and make the required NFL throws.

I know this is the town that threw snowballs at Santa, but let’s remember this is the same Eagles team whose struggles went beyond the play at QB. Jalen Hurts as the starting QB is a step in the right direction. However, that does not mean guaranteed success out of the gate. Give him the same time and patience you would any other quarterback.

Will the Eagles draft a quarterback in 2021?

I don’t think they will, personally. Sitting at sixth in the 2021 NFL Draft order, this is the highest the Eagles have picked since they selected Carson Wentz in 2016 at No. 2 overall. I find it likelier they go with either an offensive tackle if Rashawn Slater is still on the board or wide receiver and snag Ja’Marr Chase from LSU.

Taking a QB at No. 6 would be admitting they made a mistake with Hurts. Yes, I can hear the people now saying the “best QB will win the job.” Yet, do you want two quarterbacks continually looking over their shoulder, wondering if they will get the rug pulled out from under them just like Wentz did?

Shed some cap, fix the holes, and give Jalen Hurts the starts he needs so a proper decision on the Eagles’ QB situation can be made.

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Tommy Garrett is a writer for Pro Football Network covering the NFL and fantasy football. You can read more of his work here and follow him at @TommygarrettPFN on Twitter.

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