TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. likes Jalen Hurts the player, but not as a quarterback in the National Football League.
“Hurts will be a true junior this year,” he said during a conference call with reporters on Thursday afternoon. “Tua [Tagovailoa] has obviously passed him by as being the more multi-dimensional passing quarterback who can run.
“Jalen Hurts is a great leader, tough, phenomenal runner, clutch guy. Just did enough in the passing game to get by. When they needed more they went to Tua and they got it.
“Who knows? Nick [Saban’s] not going to discard Jalen Hurts, but to say he’s a pro prospect right now I would say no as a quarterback. I wouldn’t say he’s an NFL quarterback prospect. But we’ll see if he maybe can make a change to another position down the road.”
Hurts, who is only 19, is 26-2 as a starting quarterback, but was replaced by Tagovailoa in the second half of the National Championship Game. The two are expected to compete for the starting job beginning this spring.
Kiper’s mock draft 1.0 was released Thursday and he had four Alabama players going in the first round, beginning with Minkah Fitzpatrick as a cornerback to the New York Jets sixth overall. Wide receiver Calvin Ridley was eighth to the Bears, defensive lineman Da’Ron Payne 17th to the Chargers, and linebacker Rashaan Evans 28th to the Steelers.