Jalen Hurts draft projection: 12 best fits include Packers, Cowboys, Patriots in 2020 NFL Draft

first_img (Getty Images) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/b5/76/jalen-hurts-getty-ftr_nci03ytn148d1latyrkbtunif.jpg?t=2003717966&w=500&quality=80 For those NFL teams that like him more than others, they focus on the fact Hurts (6-1, 22) is mentally and physically tough with the potential to refine his skills, with a big assist from his mobility to extend plays outside of the pocket. For those who have concerns, they are about whether his inconsistent decision-making and accuracy will limit his development.Because of that, Hurts is looking like he can be picked anywhere between the mid-second round to the early fourth round. Let’s break down his best possible landing spots.MORE NFL DRAFT 2020:Latest news | SN’s 7-round mock | Top 100 big boardIndianapolis ColtsThe Colts signed Philip Rivers for only one year and should be drafting a QB at some point in 2020. They have no first-round pick after the DeForest Buckner trade with the 49ers, but they are sitting on two second-rounders, No. 34 and No. 44. They also own pick No. 75 in the third round.That’s their range to land someone they can develop into a starter. Those options will likely start with Utah State’s Jordan Love and end with Georgia’s Jake Fromm. Hurts is somewhere in the middle. With other significant needs, including wide receiver, Round 2 is too early to go QB, unless the Colts trade down using the latter pick.Round 3, however, seems Ideal for Hurts, who can learn from Rivers, Frank Reich, Nick Sirianni and Jacoby Brissett and will have zero pressure to rushed into action.Chances of drafting Hurts: 15 percentPittsburgh SteelersThe Steelers were given Hurts at No. 49 in the latest mock draft from ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. That’s their first pick of this draft, too, after giving up their first-rounder to the Dolphins to get Minkah Fitzpatrick early last season. That’s also their only pick in the top 100 overall and one of just six total picks.Pittsburgh isn’t desperate for any position, but a defensive tackle to help replace Javon Hargrave and a running back with their confidence wavering in James Conner are assets they need to win now with a healthy Ben Roethlisberger. Although it’s clear neither Mason Rudolph nor Duck Hodges is a long-term successor to Big Ben, taking Hurts that early isn’t a luxury they can fully afford.Unless Hurts free-falls to No. 104 in the third round, the Steelers likely won’t line up Hurts behind Roethlisberger.Chances of drafting Hurts: 5 percent Jalen Hurts is the most intriguing non-first round quarterback prospect in the 2020 NFL Draft. Since the former major college star at Oklahoma and Alabama participated in the Senior Bowl in January and had a strong Combine in February, there have many different views of when he should be drafted in April.Hurts has great intangibles as the on-field leader and big winner for two elite programs. His decision to finish his career playing for Lincoln Riley was an opportunity to unleash his passing and running skills in a prolific offense. That same offense produced the past two No. 1 overall draft picks, Baker Mayfield (Browns) and Kyler Murray (Cardinals). New England PatriotsLast but not least, the Patriots need to be considered a strong player for Hurts. They are in a tricky spot, however, also without a second-rounder after No. 23 overall. They also pick three times in the third round, only much later than the Raiders, as they sit on No. 98, No. 100 and No. 125.For the Patriots, No. 23 might be a reach for Love or Eason, and they might be OK if Fromm ends up as their competition for second-year QB Jarrett Stidham. Hurts, however, is an intriguing prospect to pair with Josh McDaniels and can allow the Patriots’ offense to go in different, modern directions with an extremely mobile passer. If they really want him once the top four QBs are off the board and prefer his potential to Eason’s, the Patriots can maneuver up the board to get him. Chances of drafting Hurts: 10 percent Chicago BearsThe Bears pick at No. 43 and No. 50 in the second round. Then they don’t pick again until No. 163 in the fifth round. With their selection limitations, the only way they can comfortably target Hurts is trading down to much later in Round 2 while acquiring an extra pick.Hurts has an intriguing skill set that can be molded well by Matt Nagy, but with the investment in Nick Foles as the veteran contingency plan for Mitchell Trubisky, the Bears, with multiple key offensive and defensive needs after a down season, can’t afford to add a project third QB at such a high cost.Chances of drafting Hurts: 2 percentGreen Bay PackersThe Packers have somehow gone four drafts without taking a QB in any round. Although 2018 undrafted free agent Tim Boyle is currently the top backup, their last pick at the position was Brett Hundley, a fifth-rounder in 2015. From 2006-12, the Packers drafted four behind Aaron Rodgers and also added Graham Harrell in that span.Rodgers turns 37 in December, so it makes sense for the Packers to work on someone new to develop behind him. They hold No. 62 in the second round and No. 94 in the third round, right in the reasonable realm for Hurts.They’ve spent good time vetting and chatting with Hurts. He can be molded well by Matt LaFleur and Nathaniel Hackett, and his personality will mesh in a room with Rodgers. Wide receiver, linebacker, offensive line and tight end all are on the list to be addressed, but the Packers do have some flexibility with 10 picks.Chances of drafting Hurts: 10 percentDallas CowboysThe Cowboys also have visited with Hurts. For them, with Dak Prescott on the brink of signing a lucrative long-term deal and turning only 27 in July, Hurts would be a pure backup option to upgrade over Cooper Rush, undrafted in 2017. With No. 17 and No. 51, as a team still built to win now, they would be wise to address needs at either defensive line, cornerback or offensive line.Hurts would have some appeal at No. 82, but it’s unlikely he either lasts that long or the Cowboys trade up for developmental insurance.Chances of drafting Hurts: 5 percent (Getty Images) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/e8/26/jalen-hurts-022720-getty-ftrjpg_19umt9o916f2v1or3id17ofqnb.jpg?t=-1988854984&w=500&quality=80 New Orleans SaintsThe Saints have been attached to Hurts, too, as their potential replacement for Teddy Bridgewater behind Drew Brees, and as a legitimate post-Brees starting option vs. elevated No. 2 Taysom Hill. New Orleans has a need at linebacker, but it isn’t desperate for any position. The problem is the Saints having only five total picks, topped by No. 24 and No. 88 overall.With the first-rounder, Love should get some consideration. There’s also a chance the Saints use that pick to trade down to get into the second round and get another pick for the third round. For now, selecting that late in Round 3 with little trade-up value behind No. 88, they can’t expect to get Hurts there. But if they like him enough as their future QB, they can manipulate the board to make it happen.Chances of drafting Hurts: 10 percentDetroit LionsThe Lions’ coaching staff was on the other side of watching Hurts at the Senior Bowl. Although those once-hot rumors for Tua Tagovailoa have gone ice cold, don’t forget about them in the mix for Tagovailoa’s former Alabama teammate. Detroit has eight total picks, and after No. 3 and No. 35, it is in the wheelhouse for Hurts at No. 67 and then again at No. 85. Matthew Stafford, if healthy, should be the starter for the Lions for several more seasons. But only veteran free-agent pickup Chase Daniel and second-year undrafted QB David Blough are behind him. Hurts would seem to be a good developmental fit with Darrell Bevell, Russell Wilson’s first offensive coordinator with the Seahawks. But the Lions have too many needs across the board to make a non-essential pick. Chances of drafting Hurts: 3 percentCarolina PanthersThe Panthers signed Teddy Bridgewater, released Cam Newton and traded Kyle Allen. Default second-year top backup Will Grier is the only carryover from the QB room, with former XFL standout P.J. Walker having a good shot to displace him.The Panthers have eight total picks with which to mostly address major defensive needs but also should consider lining up a rookie contingency with a reasonable way to get out of Bridgewater’s contract after the 2021 season. With No. 7 and No. 38 before their early third-rounder and No. 113 next after it, No. 69 looks like the only direct shot for Hurts.Chances of drafting Hurts: 5 percentLos Angeles ChargersThe Chargers might not be locking into a first-round QB at No. 6 with more confidence in Tyrod Taylor taking over in a Anthony Lynn offense that produced his best work with the Bills. Hurts, with some similar passing and running skills, would make sense to line up as the potential starter in 2021.But the Taylor talk might be a smokescreen to ensure landing Tagovailoa or Justin Herbert early, and with No. 37, too, Love or Washington’s Jacob Eason could be snagged by LA. Should the Chargers pass on QB twice and Hurts is on the board at No. 71, it’s a no-brainer. But those are some pretty big ifs.Chances of drafting Hurts: 5 percentMORE: Ranking every first-round QB since 2000Jacksonville JaguarsThe Jaguars have plenty of volume with 12 overall picks they can use to address a long list of needs. They should be drafting a QB at some point, too, more likely to battle Gardner Minshew than back him up.With No. 9, No. 20 and No. 42, the Jaguars have multiple ways to jump into the top QB tiers. A mashup of the Panthers and Chargers’ QB situations, No. 73 in the third round is their true lone shot at Hurts.Chances of drafting Hurts: 10 percentLas Vegas RaidersThe Raiders, despite having Derek Carr and Marcus Mariota, love Hurts more than any other team. It’s pretty clear Jon Gruden has never been “all in” on Carr, but with him and Mariota, he can take a more developmental approach in trying to replace his starting QB. The Raiders are ready to take a calculated gamble on Hurts; it just depends on what they need to ante up. Until the Combine, he seemed to be their own little secret. Now that secret of his upside is out.The obstacle is that the Raiders pick at No. 12 and No. 19 in the first round but don’t have a pick until Nos. 80 and 81 back-to-back, as well as No. 91, in the third round. So to better position themselves for Hurts, they need to use No. 19 to trade down, or package two of the third-rounders to get as high as No. 53 overall in the second round.But, like the Saints, the Raiders have the means to make it work if Hurts is their guy.Chances of drafting Hurts: 20 percentlast_img read more