NAME: Jalen Hurd
POSITION: Wide Receiver
CONFERENCE: Big 12
JERSEY: No. 5
RECRUITMENT RATING: 4-star
Before we get to know Jalen Hurd the player, I thought it would be a good idea to tell you little bit about his background. Not only was he a 4-star recruit coming out of high school, but he was also considered a top running back prospect (potential first-rounder) during his time at Tennessee. Despite being a highly touted RB prospect, he thought it was in his best interest to transform himself into a wide receiver in order to prolong his career. That was the driving force behind him transferring to Baylor. True to his word he reinvented himself from a 6'4″, 240 pound RB to a 6'4″, 229 pound WR, turning him into one of the more intriguing prospects in the entire 2019 draft class.
Putting aside everything he brings to the table as a running back, Jalen Hurd actually checks all of the boxes for what NFL teams look for in a prototypical wide receiver. He has the desired size, speed, athleticism, and natural receiving ability to become a starter in the league. Even though he basically has just one year of experience at WR, you can really see the work he's put into not only transform his body, but learn the nuances of his new position. I think that's a testament to his hard work and dedication.
He is a natural hands catcher and easily snatches the ball out of the air with his 10 1/8 inch hands. Has a large catch radius and has shown the ability to high point the ball in contested catch situations or go down low to secure the catch. Operated mostly out of the slot at Baylor, but has the ability to play on the outside as well.
Shows loose hips and good change of direction ability on film, although he's never going to be considered a quick twitch athlete due to his size. Is at his most dangerous after the catch when he immediately goes from WR to RB. More slippery than you'd imagine for a player his size. Tracks the ball well down the field and is fearless carrying his routes across the middle. His strength and the length make him a formidable blocker as well.
As you would imagine, the majority of Jalen Hurd's cons are mostly due to the fact that he's new to the wide receiver position. Needs a clean release off the line of scrimmage, otherwise he is too easily thrown off of his route. He will likely have to play out the slot until he is able to learn how to beat press coverage at the next level. With time that should improve though because he has the strength and the length to succeed.
Hurd is still really raw as far as his football IQ and route running is concerned at his new position. Needs to become more detail oriented in regards to his stance, release, stem adjustments, and ability to read coverage. Shows pretty good footwork to get in and out of his breaks, but isn't what you would describe as springy. He is a long strider who can eat up a lot of ground quickly though.
The Dallas Cowboys could be looking for someone to replace Cole Beasley's production on those short to intermediate routes. This is where Jalen Hurd will be the most effective until he can fine-tune some of the raw aspects of his game. He can be a mismatch player against linebackers, safeties, and nickel cornerbacks as a rookie due to his mere size and athleticism.
Not only would he provide some much-needed size and depth to the wide receiver position, but he could also contribute as a running back from time to time. Think of how the New England Patriots use Cordarrelle Patterson as both a WR and RB. That could free up an extra roster spot that would've gone to a backup RB. He hasn't contributed a lot on special teams, but his background as a running back and his slipperiness in the open field could be useful as a punt and kick returner.
Overall, Jalen Hurd is an intriguing prospect for the Dallas Cowboys. He's just starting to scratch the surface of his potential as a wide receiver, but in a year or two could be one of the better playmakers to come out of this draft class. This is someone the Cowboys will more than likely have participating at Dallas Day for local prospects, which should put him on their radar if he isn't already.