In just his second season — and in his first year as the full-time starter — Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts could be headed to the Pro Bowl.
Less than a day after the initial selections were announced Wednesday evening, Hurts was named as a Pro Bowl alternate for the NFC team.
“Pro Bowl is obviously the goal for a lot of players; it’s a dream for many,” Hurts said Thursday afternoon. “To be considered and voted upon my peers — starting off this way ain’t too bad.
“It’s a blessing.”
Hurts could join teammates Jason Kelce and Darius Slay as representatives on the NFC’s squad.
During the Eagles’ win over Washington on Tuesday night, Hurts had two rushing touchdowns, which upped his season total to 10. That marks a new franchise record as Hurts passed Michael Vick’s previous club-best of nine rushing touchdowns in a single season.
Over 13 games, Hurts has completed 61.2% of his passes for 2,731 yards with 14 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He’s also proven to be a dynamic factor in the run-pass option. Hurts is the team’s leading rusher with 733 yards on 130 carries (5.6 average).
Since taking over as the starter in Week 14 of the 2020 season, Hurts ranks fourth in the NFL in total yards with 4,655. Hurts has the most explosive plays (16-plus yard completions and 10-plus yard rushes) in the NFL this season with 96.
“He’s a triple threat,” Washington coach Ron Rivera said of Hurts following the Eagles’ 27-17 victory. “He’s either going to hand it off, he’s going to throw it or he’s going to run it. You have to be able to [defend] all three.”
Said tight end Dallas Goedert: “I think every game that Jalen is out there, he gets more comfortable. We have a lot of trust in each other. He has a lot of trust in himself. He does a great job keeping his eyes down the field and when he has to run, he is one of the most explosive quarterbacks in this league.”
In the case that either Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers or Kyler Murray are unable to attend – due to injury, opting out or if their team advances to the Super Bowl — Hurts can fill in. His chances of substituting for one of the quarterbacks mentioned are likely, especially considering Brady hasn’t participated since 2005 despite being named to the Pro Bowl an NFL-record 15 times.
For the first time in league history, the Pro Bowl will be held in Las Vegas. The annual showdown between the AFC and NFC teams is Feb. 6 at Allegiant Stadium.
With three regular-season games remaining, Hurts has guided the Eagles to a 7-7 record. The team has a realistic shot at making the playoffs, sitting just one spot outside the NFC’s final playoff seed at No. 7, which is currently possessed by the Vikings (also 7-7). According to FiveThirtyEight, the Eagles have a 37% chance to make the postseason.
In addition to Hurts, Goedert, defensive lineman Javon Hargrave, defensive end Josh Sweat, linebacker Shaun Bradley, and kicker Jake Elliott were also named as alternates.
After showing gratitude for his own selection as an alternate, Hurts expressed his frustration with other teammates not earning Pro Bowl nods. He specifically pointed out the omissions of left tackle Jordan Mailata and right tackle Lane Johnson.
“Both of those guys are tremendous players,” Hurts said. “We have a number of players who’ve played at a high level all year. I think our best football is yet to come. Group success comes down to individuals doing their jobs, but ultimately you see Jordan Mailata out there balling. You see Lane doing what he’s done for a very long time. They’re Pro Bowlers in my book. If they keep me clean, I’m all smiles.
“I was shocked to see that.”