ESPN: Jalen Hurts on '1-Year Audition' to Become Eagles' Long-Term Starting QB

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVMay 6, 2022

TAMPA, FLORIDA - JANUARY 16: Jalen Hurts #1 of the Philadelphia Eagles looks to pass against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the second half of the NFC Wild Card Playoff game at Raymond James Stadium on January 16, 2022 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The Philadelphia Eagles are reportedly set to use the 2022 NFL season as a "one-year audition" to see whether Jalen Hurts can firmly establish himself as their franchise quarterback.

ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported Friday on SportsCenter the Eagles believe Hurts now has the necessary weapons, led by the offseason acquisition of A.J. Brown from the Tennessee Titans, to take a step forward in his development:

"They're saying that Jalen Hurts is well positioned to make himself a long-term starter because the Eagles have surrounded him with a good team. Now he's got A.J. Brown opposite DeVonta Smith. He's pretty much got everything he needs, and he's embracing that pressure. This is clearly a one-year audition. The 2023 draft class is very strong at quarterback, so the Eagles have 17 games, or more, to figure out if Hurts is the guy. Talking to people around the league, they said look, 'This is a player who has gotten better, who works really hard, who teammates like a lot.' It's just with his game, does he get exposed a bit over a full season? Do the Eagles have to hide him or can they open up the playbook and he can do a little bit of everything and see the full field? That's sort of what they're waiting to see. They feel like Hurts hasn't proved that as of yet."

Hurts has displayed plenty of dual-threat playmaking ability across his first two NFL seasons since Philly selected him in the second round of the 2020 draft. The question is whether he can win games from the pocket when needed.

He's completed a modest 59 percent of his career throws and has tallied just 22 passing touchdowns in 30 appearances (19 starts). His completion percentage did jump from 52 percent as a rookie to 61.3 percent last year, which is a promising sign.

His ability to make plays with his legs—784 rushing yards and 10 scores on the ground in 2021—gives him a chance to become an ideal modern QB with further improvement as a pure passer, so that's what the Eagles are likely hoping to see this season.

For his part, Hurts said he's looking forward to the chance to enter 2022 as the unquestioned leader of the Philadelphia offense.

"It's understood. It's my opportunity, it's my team," he told reporters Wednesday. "It's my team, so we're ready to go."

The addition of Brown alongside DeVonta Smith gives the Eagles one of the NFL's best one-two punches at receiver, and the list of weapons around the third-year QB in the passing game also includes Quez Watkins, Zach Pascal and Dallas Goedert.

Add in a rushing attack led by Miles Sanders and Boston Scott, and there's no reason Philly shouldn't feature a highly ranked offense this season.

If Hurts continues to improve and the Eagles emerge as a serious contender in the NFC, he'll likely become the focus of contract extension talks next offseason.

Should Philadelphia fall short of expectations, however, the front office is probably going to find itself in the market for a new quarterback in 2023.