Could Jalen Hurts sneak into the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft?

Jalen Hurts NFL Draft
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

You’re not going to find Jalen Hurts on many first-round mock drafts out there right now, but it’s hard to ignore the possibility after watching him continue to develop this past winter.

Everything he does is impressive.

He handled his disappointing demotion at Alabama and transfer to Oklahoma with professionalism.

He put his dual-threat abilities on display during a jaw-dropping 2019 campaign playing with Lincoln Riley.

Then his utter commitment to the game of football came into focus during Senior Bowl week, when Hurts stayed in Mobile to practice with his teammates, rather than attend the funeral of his beloved grandfather.

He had a tremendous showing at the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine. Hurts shined on the field as a pure passer, and his 40 time highlighted his running abilities. Even better, he proved to be a student of the game on the whiteboard.

This young man has shown he has what it takes to not only play at the NFL level, but excel.

Back in January, I wrote that Hurts may end up being the sleeper of the 2020 NFL Draft. At the time, it didn’t seem likely that he’d be a Day 1 selection. However, given the top-heavy nature of this year’s quarterback class, and given the fluidity of the quarterbacks set to hit free agency this March, it’s starting to look more and more like Hurts can sneak into the first round.

Looking at the first round as it’s currently constructed, It’s conceivable that the New England Patriots, for instance, could potentially trade down from No. 23 to the bottom of Round 1. The Patriots, whether Tom Brady comes back or not, need to find the quarterback of the future. And Hurts could fit Bill Belichick like a glove.

Another team that makes sense is the Minnesota Vikings (No. 25), who are heading into the final year of their Kirk Cousins experiment.

The Green Bay Packers (No. 30) have already declared a first-round quarterback is a possibility, and Aaron Rodgers isn’t getting any younger.

Hurts has the skill set to execute an offense similar to what Kyler Murray is doing in Arizona or what Lamar Jackson is doing for the Baltimore Ravens. He’s a legitimate dual-threat quarterback. And in the end, he may end up taking the same route Jackson did to sneak into the first round.