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Alabama in the Pros

Former NFL quarterback says Jalen Hurts is leading candidate for league MVP

Jalen Hurts (#1) attempts a pass for Eagles in 2022 NFL preseason game versus Jets
Bill Streicher - USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Leaf’s professional career as a quarterback did not turn out as he wanted, but the one many labeled as the biggest NFL Draft bust knows marquee talent when he sees it.

The former No. 2 overall pick of the 1998 draft was Thursday’s feature on Good Morning Football. Leaf played five years in the NFL from 1998 to 2002 with the San Diego Chargers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Dallas Cowboys, and Seattle Seahawks. Some thought he would be better than Peyton Manning, but the former University of Tennesse legend went on to capture two Super Bowls and is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Leaf has been impressed with Philadelphia Eagles’ quarterback Jalen Hurts.

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Hurts is having a strong season in his third year. He’s posted two 300+ yard passing performances, three games with 2+ touchdown passes, six games with a 60 percent or higher completion rating, and four matchups with a passer rating of 100 or higher. Hurts has 2,102 total yards and 16 touchdowns with two interceptions in seven games. Philadelphia has an offense that is rolling with Hurts as its leader. ESPN’s Dan Orlovsky said the former Alabama quarterback is ‘the best decision-maker in football’ right now. Leaf said he feels Hurts is the leading candidate for NFL’s Most Valuable Player. He has played like it to this point.

“He has been the best player in the NFL this year,” Leaf said about Hurts. “The team wins, and it’s different guys every week. It’s A.J. Brown, and then it’s Miles Sanders, and then you have DeVonta Smith. Jalen Hurts right now, if I had to vote for MVP of the league, he is by far the one. I knew when he got drafted by Philadelphia, Carson Wentz’s time was limited because of how he [Hurts] works. He will outwork everybody. I have known him since he was a freshman at Alabama. Nick Saban asked me to come to speak to the team, and he was the first player that talked to me afterward. I could see it in his eyes. I could see the work ethic.”

Leaf also credits Hurts’ toughness in battling adversity when he transferred from Alabama to Oklahoma.

He will lead the Eagles on Thursday Night Football against the Houston Texans. Hurts is from the Houston area.

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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

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