Pro Football Focus: Jalen Hurts’ 2017 debut was actually great

A lot has been said about Jalen Hurts opening performance of Alabama’s 2017 season.

The Crimson Tide’s sophomore quarterback completed 10 of 18 passes for 96 yards and one touchdown with zero interceptions. He also ran 15 times for 55 yards in the 24-7 win over Florida State.

That mediocre stat line had led to critics saying Hurts didn’t take a big enough step forward, can’t be relied upon to throw to win a big game, and maybe even should split time with freshman QB Tua Tagovailoa.

However, one evaluator thinks the exact opposite. Pro Football Focus’ Gordon McGuinness joined the Alabama Podcast this week to discuss the Crimson Tide’s season-opening win and how players at multiple positions graded out for the game.

McGuinness said Hurts made three of what PFF describes as “big-time throws” during the game, which accounts for a variety of factors involved with each pass. According to McGuinness, Hurts made only 15 such throws all of last season.

“It’s a significant reason to think he’s taken a step forward,” McGuinness said, emphasizing that Hurts’ stat line hides the fact that he made good throws when needed, including the 53-yard bomb TD to Calvin Ridley, threw the ball away when nothing was there, scrambled for important yards, and controlled the offense. “He was very smart with the football, no mistakes at all.”

So while it may surprise some to see Hurts’ name, and not Missouri quarterback Drew Lock’s, atop PFF’s SEC Offensive Team of the Week, perhaps it shouldn’t. While Lock lit up Missouri State for an SEC-record tying 7 touchdowns, Hurts led a steady offense to a victory over the No. 3 team in the nation which features one of the best defenders in the country.

“He was efficient throughout the game with three huge throws,” McGuinness said.

The post Pro Football Focus: Jalen Hurts’ 2017 debut was actually great appeared first on SEC Country.

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