PHILADELPHIA (CBS)- With just four games of NFL starting experience under his belt, it’s hard to know what to expect from Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts in 2021.
The second round pick showed flashes of dynamic play in his rookie season after taking over from Carson Wentz but he struggled with accuracy (52%) and his 2.7% interception rate would have ranked in the bottom third of the league if he had enough pass attempts to qualify. The turnovers were a key reason why former NFL quarterback and current Pro Football Focus analyst Bruce Gradkowski ranked Hurts 31 out of 32 starters heading into the 2021 season. Here’s what Gradkowski wrote:READ MORE: 6 Day Workweeks And Poked By Needles: YaFavTrashman Fighting For Philadelphia Sanitation Workers' Safety
“Jalen Hurts will get his opportunity to showcase not only his skills but his leadership heading into 2021. Hurts provided an immediate spark last season, but the wheels started to fall off after that. Hurts must manage the game with better decision-making. He finished the season with nine turnover-worthy plays in the last four games. If Hurts wants to be the guy in Philadelphia, then he needs to protect the ball better. His leadership and poise will bring the team together, but production — and winning football games — must follow.”READ MORE: Police: 2 Teens In Car Shot At Red Light In Philadelphia's Olney Neighborhood
In the rankings, Hurts sits ahead of only Denver Broncos starter Drew Lock and behind rookie Zach Wilson of the New York Jets. In case Eagles fans are wondering where former starter Carson Wentz landed on the list, he’s eight spots ahead of Hurts at No. 23.MORE NEWS: 14 Arrested On More Than 120 Charges Related To NorthPak Gang Violence In Wilmington
After the draft, Eagles GM Howie Roseman told Sirius XM that the organization hopes Hurts will take the starting job and run with it, setting themselves up in good position for the future. Hurts’ play this year is likely to affect the team’s decision making at the position in the offseason of 2022 when they could potentially have three first round picks at their disposal. The season kicks off on Sunday, September 12 when the Eagles visit the Atlanta Falcons with kickoff set for 1 p.m. Eastern Time.