A longtime Philadelphia Eagle, DeSean Jackson had better than a bird's-eye view of Jalen Hurts' rookie season. That experience was enough to convince Jackson that the Eagles had something special in Hurts, who two years later would lead the franchise to the Super Bowl.
Hurts replaced Carson Wentz as the team's starting quarterback by season's end. That was anything but a surprise to Jackson, who apparently sang Hurts' praises to Eagles GM Howie Roseman during that season.
"I was lobbying for Jalen Hurts back when we had Carson Wentz at that time," Jackson said earlier this week, via Pro Football Talk. "When everyone was like, 'Why would we take Jalen Hurts in the second round?' I remember we were at practice and Jalen, he was the backup behind Wentz, we were sitting back, me, Howie, I think [former Eagles receiver] Alshon Jeffery, and Jalen was going versus the starting defense because when you're the backup you go versus the ones, so sitting there watching him, I'm just seeing him slinging the ball and he's making crazy plays, and I looked back at Howie and said, 'Howie, I told you, that kid's going to be special, man.'
"Just to see where he's at now — one thing I can say, back when I was here in 2020, we trained in the offseason and he came to Tampa, and everyone was like, 'Why is Jalen Hurts training with DeSean Jackson? Why isn't Carson Wentz out there training?' He just made it convenient because I trained in Tampa and he came out and trained with me, and we trained for a whole week, and we were able to build, and I could see his mentality was different then. You could see ... how eager he was to win. ... The game was never too big, his persona, his demeanor, he's walking around, flipping the ball, I'm like, there's something special about him. The game is not too big for him. I definitely saw Jalen Hurts before what the world sees now. ... He's going to have some special moments in Philadelphia. As you can see, he's QB No. 1 for a reason."
No one is questioning the Eagles' decision to draft Hurts now. The Eagles are 35-11 with Hurts in the starting lineup (including the playoffs) since the start of the 2021 season. They're a staggering 26-3 over the past three seasons that includes this year's 10-1 start.
Hurts, who starred at both Alabama and Oklahoma in college, enjoyed a season for the ages in 2022. A first-time Pro Bowler, Hurts joined Kordell Stewart, Cam Newton and Kyler Murray as the only quarterbacks in NFL history to throw at least 20 touchdowns and run for at least 10 more in the same season. In the Super Bowl, he joined Hall of Famer Terrell Davis as the only players to run for three touchdowns in the big game.
Hurts has been just as good this season. He's enjoying a career high in completion percentage and has already run for 11 touchdowns. Hurts can strengthen his already solid MVP odds with a strong performance against the 49ers this weekend in a rematch of last year's NFC title game.