As the NFL barrels toward the draft and eventually the 2020 season, the New England Patriots still have one of the most significant decisions in the league to make — who is going to replace surefire Hall of Famer Tom Brady?
The Pats haven’t exactly been forthcoming about their plans, though it’s possible they just don’t know what to do just yet. While talk has centered around the team settling on either Brian Hoyer or Jarrett Stidham for the near future, one analyst thinks its time to draft the heir apparent — should he still be available. That analyst believes the man who should follow Brady as New England’s next starter quarterback is none other than Jalen Hurts.
The former Alabama and Oklahoma quarterback has been steadily rising several teams’ draft boards since the combine. Bleacher Report‘s Brent Sobleski thinks that no matter where Hurts ends up in the draft, the Patriots should be looking to choose him.
Two theories could come into play, according to Sobleski. The first is that other quarterbacks like Tua Tagovailoa, Jordan Love, and Justin Herbert are good enough to go quite early. That would leave Hurts falling to New England in the first round.
The other school of thought is Hurts could fall into the second or third round, and the Pats could trade down to make sure they land him. Either way, he believes the team would be maximizing value by getting the former Sooner.
One of the reasons Sobleski thinks the quarterback could end up being even better than people think is that all the talk about his “improvement” in his senior year wasn’t as big an improvement as others believe. He pointed to statistics from Pro Football Focus that show no SEC freshman completed “quick passes” at a higher rate than Hurts. Considering the offense the Patriots run, an ability to get rid of the ball quickly is a skill Brady’s successor is going to need.
As a senior, Hurts continued to show a skill set that is attractive to all NFL teams, especially the Patriots — he ranked 10th nationally in passes of 10 or more yards. He was also quite successful when under pressure, throwing nine touchdowns to just two interceptions.
One skill Hurts possesses that would be new to the Patriots’ offensive gameplan is his ability to run, as Brady was never truly known as a mobile quarterback. Hurts, meanwhile, ran for nearly 1,300 yards and 20 touchdowns. Sobleski believes that X-factor New England head coach Bill Belichick never had at his disposal could be the thing that sells him on spending a draft pick on the quarterback.
In the PFF Era, no SEC freshman QB has completed quick passes (<2.5 secs to throw) at a higher rate than Alabama's Jalen Hurts did in 2016. pic.twitter.com/mv4qmgYpw2
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) June 29, 2017