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January 04, 2023

MVP credentials: Jalen Hurts has elite accuracy this season

The Eagles' quarterback has an impressive MVP resume — and it starts with his accuracy.

Before the 2022-23 season, it wasn't unusual to hear someone (be them an NFL expert or fan) call Jalen Hurts a running back who also plays quarterback.

It wasn't a completely outlandish statement. In his rookie year, Hurts completed only 52% of his passes, improving that to 61.3% during his first full season as a starter in 2021 — both sub-par rates. He also was the team's leading rusher last season, setting several team QB rushing records and anchoring the best-running offense in football.

If Hurts threw a few good passes, it was a bonus. 

But that all changed in 2022. Perhaps due to the upgrades the Eagles made at receiver — adding A.J. Brown to a receiving corps that already included Dallas Goedert and DeVonta Smith — or perhaps due to the fact that he just needed time to develop his NFL arm more, Hurts is now clearly a quarterback who also happens to run the ball pretty effectively.

His MVP case may rest most strongly on his value to the Eagles roster (13-1 with him, 0-2 without him). His 13 rushing touchdowns and 747 yards on the ground certainly help, but his throwing accuracy has been in elite territory this season and the numbers back that up.

CategoryStatNFL Rank
 Completion %67.3%6th
Interception %1.2%2nd
Yards per att8.22nd
QB Rating104.23rd 
Bad throw %13.5%9th
On target %78.6%5th

• Hurts' 67.3% completion percentage doesn't even paint the full picture of his accuracy throwing the football. The third-year QB saw 12 of his 139 incompletions batted down at the line of scrimmage — the 8th most in the NFL.

• He threw away 19 passes, attempts that weren't even intended to find the hands of a receiver — 11th most in the NFL.

• He suffered through 21 drops from his receivers — a 5.2% drop rate (which is actually not bad, ranking 21st of 33 qualifying quarterbacks).

• He saw 151 blitzes over his first 14 games, a number that still ranks as the 6th most in the league. He was under pressure a ton, but his elusiveness limited him to just 22 QB hits, a number that is 28th in the NFL behind players like Carson Wentz (who was hit 29 times in half as many games as Hurts).

• Hurts did all of this while running an astronomically high number of run-pass-options — 147 in total. He threw the ball 121 times on those plays for 1,068 yards, both league highs as well. 

• He also has lost just two fumbles this season — and paired with only five interceptions, you can add protecting the football to his list of MVP attributes. He's thrown a pick in 28.6% of games this year. Only Daniel Jones has started 14 games or more with a better percentage.

Hurts looks to be on track to return to the field in Week 18 against the Giants, where depending on how big of a lead he can open up on New York's backups, he may or may not wind up playing the full four quarters. 

Without diving into a full debate against Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen and Joe Burrow, the three leading MVP rivals to Hurts, it would be hard to argue that the Eagles' signal caller doesn't at least deserve to be among them when it comes time to vote later this winter. Hurts is responsible for 301.4 yards per game (passing and running combined), behind only Allen and Mahomes.  

One has to ponder whether he was a sprained shoulder away from being proclaimed the best player in the entire sport.

MVP award or no, Hurts has one of the most remarkable and valuable sets of skills this league has seen in a while. If he returns healthy from his recent ailment and regains the form we broke down above, he has a good chance of winning a different and even more coveted MVP crown come February.

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