Should the Steelers have drafted QB Jalen Hurts in 2020?

Jalen Hurts #2 of the Philadelphia Eagles. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Jalen Hurts #2 of the Philadelphia Eagles. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

The Pittsburgh Steelers had a chance to take Jalen Hurts in the 2020 NFL Draft. Did they miss an opportunity by passing on him?

Ben Roethlisberger has had one of the most memorable careers of any player currently on an NFL roster. After being drafted by the Steelers with the 11th overall pick all the way back in 2004, Big Ben has won two Super Bowls and appeared in a third while managing to lead Pittsburgh to the second-best era in the history of the franchise.

However, we know this isn’t going to last much longer. As illustrious as Roethlisberger’s Hall of Fame career has been, the end of the road is in sight, and his time could potentially come even sooner than some anticipated. Compared to nearly any other player in the league, Ben has lasted an incredibly long time, but this is what we have come to expect from a player of his magnitude.

Sadly, we can see the signs of aging in the Steelers quarterback as he has failed to consistently complete passes beyond ten yards this year, and has next to no mobility within the pocket. Clearly, Pittsburgh is going to need to find their next franchise quarterback soon. Did they already pass him up in the 2020 NFL Draft last April?

Should Steelers have drafted Jalen Hurts?

Chase Claypool proved to be a phenomenal player early in his career. Though he has struggled with consistency, the 6’4” target has showcased to win from any spot on the football field, and he could prove to be an even bigger matchup nightmare once he corrects a few minor technical errors in his game.

While this clearly looks like one of the best picks in the draft at this point, is it possible that it was the wrong decision by Pittsburgh?

Jalen Hurts is a player I was quite high on coming out of Oklahoma last year. While he wasn’t considered to be on the same level as former Oklahoma quarterbacks, Kyler Murray and Baker Mayfield, Hurts was a talented young passer and a gifted athlete who put up very similar numbers as these two players in Lincoln Riley’s offense.

In addition to testing as a 95th percentile athlete at the quarterback position, Hurts managed 52 total touchdowns to go with just 8 interceptions and an impressive 11.3 yards per target in his final year in college, according to Sports Reference. But despite terrific production and incredible athletic testing, Hurts managed to fall to the middle of the second round.

There were rumors that the Steelers were one of the teams interested in him. However, when pick 49 rolled around, Pittsburgh went with big-bodied WR Chase Claypool. Jalen Hurts was taken just four picks later by the Philadelphia Eagles.

After an awful start to the season for Eagles quarterback, Carson Wentz, Philadelphia finally let Hurts take the ropes. While he wasn’t perfect in his first game as a starter, Hurts managed to defeat the 10-2 New Orleans Saints, as he personally topped 100 rushing yards in the contest.

Today’s idea of a franchise quarterback doesn’t look anything like it did 10-15 years ago. No matter where your team is located, you don’t need a 6’5” pocket passer like in years past. Jalen Hurts fits the mold of a franchise quarterback in today’s NFL with his plus athleticism and supreme leadership.

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Chase Claypool may very well turn out to be an elite receiver in the NFL, but if Jalen Hurts turns out to be a franchise quarterback, perhaps the Steelers made the wrong decision by passing him up in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft.