Jalen Hurd 2019 NFL Draft Profile

Jalen Hurd
LUBBOCK, TX - NOVEMBER 24: Wide receiver Jalen Hurd #5 of the Baylor Bears tries to get past defensive back Jah'Shawn Johnson #7 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders during the game on November 24, 2018 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Baylor defeated Texas Tech 35-24. (Photo by John Weast/Getty Images)

Overview
Position
: Wide receiver
Height: 6’5″
Weight: 226 pounds
School: Baylor Bears

Combine Performance Data
Bench press
: 23 reps (third-best among wide receivers)

Jalen Hurd 2019 NFL Draft Profile

Every year, there are multiple prospects who played a different position than their current one in high school and even during part of their college career. Jalen Hurd fits that description. During his junior season at Beech Senior High in Hendersonville, TN, Hurd ran for 3,357 yards and 43 touchdowns, both of which shattered the existing state record. He kept re-writing the record books in the state title game that year, totaling 394 yards and seven scores in his team’s 56-35 win which clinched a perfect 15-0 record. Hurd missed most of his senior year due to a shoulder injury. But he still garnered a five-star rating from Rivals and 247Sports and ultimately stayed in-state, committing to Tennessee.

Hurd received playing time immediately and made nine starts as a true freshman. He was quite productive, totaling a team-leading 899 rushing yards which broke the school record for a first-year player. Hurd’s sophomore campaign was his best in Knoxville. That year, he accounted for 1,288 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns, both of which were top six among SEC running backs. It included an impressive effort in the Outback Bowl which led to him being named the MVP of the game. Hurd started all seven games he played in as a junior. But he suffered a concussion and subsequently desired to move to wide receiver. When the Tennessee coaching staff rebuffed the idea of such a move, Hurd opted to transfer.

Baylor was his school of choice and after sitting out a year, Hurd began his quest to become an impact pass-catcher. He made significant strides in that regard as he registered four touchdowns and led the Bears with 946 receiving yards. At the midway point of the season, he was named to the Biletnikoff Award Watch List and later received Big XII newcomer of the year recognition. For his career, he finished with 4,298 all-purpose yards which is the 14th-best total among active FBS players.

Strengths

  • checks all the boxes from a size and stature standpoint;
  • showcases adept and soft hands despite lack of experience at wide receiver;
  • background at running back gives him above average versatility;
  • can be an asset within NFL teams’ increasing usage of jet motion;
  • a legitimate threat after the catch;
  • impressive ability to haul in balls despite looming hit;
  • can react and adjust to come up with inaccurate throws;
  • displayed big-play ability in the red zone;
  • coaches praised his work ethic in being able to quickly learn a new position;
  • has the football I.Q. necessary to learn and continue to improve.

Weaknesses

  • somewhat thinly built below the hips;
  • route tree is rather narrow in scope;
  • not particularly twitchy with respect to change of direction in route-running;
  • quickness when running routes is too constant and needs to be more dynamic;
  • operated primarily inside and lacks experience in plus splits;
  • needs serious work as a blocker;
  • possible concerns over durability.

NFL Comparison: Jordan Matthews

Teams With Need at Position: Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Denver Broncos, Green Bay Packers, Jacksonville Jaguars, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco 49ers, Washington Redskins

Projection: Third to fourth round

Bottom Line

The manner of Hurd’s seamless transition into an impact wide receiver was impressive indeed. He accounted for nearly 1,000 yards during his lone season at the position and subsequently burst onto the scene as a legit NFL prospect. Hurd is a confident catcher of the football, can gain additional yardage once the ball’s in his hands, and can battle with opposing corners in hauling in contested catches. He also seems to be coachable and boasts a work ethic which will set an example in the locker room.

But Hurd is certainly raw and needs work in order to become a well-rounded receiver at the next level. He’s still rather basic as a route-runner and the ones he does run lack polish and sharpness. Though he looks the part of an outside receiver capable of winning deep, he didn’t really operate in such a role at Baylor. And it remains a big question mark as to whether he can consistently block both in run support and in creating lanes for receivers on short passes.

Potential is a word that you can certainly use to associate what Hurd’s capable of. His physical traits and overall skill set give him a higher ceiling than most with his relative dearth of experience at wide receiver. His football intelligence is above average and he shouldn’t have too pronounced a learning curve in adjusting to the ins and outs of the position in the NFL. It’s possible Hurd sneaks into day two of the draft. But if not, he’ll certainly be off the board early on day three.

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