There are tons of reasons to get excited about the Eagles' 2022 season, but everyone knows the main storyline will be Jalen Hurts' quest to prove he's a franchise quarterback and not just a bang-average starter.
Hurts' first full year as the Eagles' QB1 was a roller coaster, and now it's his job to become more consistently good (and great) than bad.
One thing Hurts was last year? A fantasy football dynamo. And NBC Sports fantasy analyst Matthew Berry said before Thursday night's Hall of Fame game that he expects Hurts to take another leap this year - which would be great for fantasy owners and great for Eagles fans.
Here's Berry's reasoning for the expected improvement:
"Currently going as QB8 in Yahoo Fantasy, seventh round, I think that's too low. Everyone knows about the rushing but people question the passing, they question the accuracy, but think about another young quarterback who had good running, who had questionable accuracy: Josh Allen.
"Look at Josh Allen's second year, and then look at Jalen Hurts' second year which he just completed. Jalen Hurts had more passing yards, a higher completion percentage, more rushing yards, same interceptions, same touchdowns per game.
"What happened going into Year 3 for Josh Allen? They gave him Stefon Diggs. Completion percentage goes up, he was the No. 1 quarterback in fantasy. What'd [the Eagles] do this year? They gave [Hurts] A.J. Brown, who Jalen Hurts is very close to off the field. The second year of DeVonta Smith as well. So the No. 1 quarterback in fantasy is within the range of outcomes for Jalen Hurts. I have him at QB4.
"I'm not saying he's got Josh Allen's arm, but I think the passing improves a lot and he's going to be a Top 5 fantasy quarterback this year."
Very interesting! I hadn't drawn that connection yet, but I think it has merit.
Let's look at the two quarterbacks' second years in the league:
- Allen: 58.8%, 20 TD, 9 INT, 6.7 Y/A, 193.1 Y/G | 510 rush yds, 4.7 Y/R, 9 TD
- Hurts: 61.3%, 16 TD, 9 INT, 7.3 Y/A, 209.6 Y/G | 784 rush yds, 5.6 Y/R, 10 TD
Okay! So Hurts was a little more reliant on his legs to score, while also being a little more accurate and better at accumulating yards through the air.
But largely those numbers are similar, which is why Berry's idea of adding a Top 10 wideout to the mix to help kickstart that development is so intriguing. It certainly worked for Allen, who quickly became a perennial MVP candidate once Diggs arrived.
If the same thing happens for Hurts with Brown, that'd be a gigantic win for the Eagles. He's still under contract at a second-round pick's scale for this year and next year. If he has a big season, sure, he'll want to get paid. But if he earns it, Howie Roseman won't have any problem handing out that money for a legit franchise QB.
We'll see if he can make it happen.