FRISCO, Texas – The comparisons were already a bit eerie before Jalen Hurts even entered the starting lineup.
An accomplished college quarterback, seen as a natural leader but in need of some development, drafted to work behind a talented, veteran starter.
No two players are the same, but it's not much of a stretch to see the similarities between Hurts and the Cowboys' own Dak Prescott.
"To some degree he reminds you — I'm not going to go as far as to say all the details of the skills — his leadership, competitiveness, and the success he is having quickly reminds of our guy Dak," said Cowboys chief operating officer Stephen Jones this week.
Hurts himself acknowledged that he's head those comparisons. Interestingly enough, Prescott hosted Hurts when he made a visit to Mississippi State as a high school recruit, and he knows he's had his game compared to the veteran.
"I heard it some," he said. "I have a lot of respect for Dak coming in and doing the things that he's done. I'm praying for a healthy recovery for him. I have a lot of respect for him and his game."
Even with all of that said, if you simply just factor what is now happening in Philadelphia, and it's hard not to make the connection. Originally drafted in the second round back in April, Hurts took over for a struggling Carson Wentz back on Dec. 6, and the results have been easy to see.
At the time, the Eagles were languishing, dropping four consecutive games and failing to score 20 points in any of them.
Having plugged in Hurts, the dynamic dual-threat quarterback who excelled for both Alabama and Oklahoma, and the results are obvious. In his first career start, Hurts tallied 273 all-purpose yards in a 24-21 upset of New Orleans. Last week, he threw for 338 yards and three touchdowns with another 63 rushing yards in a wild loss to Arizona.
"They've run almost every quarterback run potentially in their offense these last two games, and he's done very well with it. He's also made a number of huge plays in the passing game," said Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy. "He's done a good job with the vertical ball. So, you have to be nothing but impressed with his productivity these last two and half games."
With praise like that coming from the front office, it shouldn't be a surprise that the Cowboys had their own interest in Hurts' skill set. They made waves during the spring when they released footage of their pre-draft meeting with Hurts.
"We had a great virtual interview with him; very impressive young man," McCarthy said. "Went back through his history both at Alabama and Oklahoma. So, he thought of him very highly in our building."
There's an ironic connection there, as well, if you think about it. At the time that footage released, there was feverish speculation that Hurts could be drafted as Prescott's successor. Even talking about it eight months later, Jones was sure to be clear about where his priorities lie.
"We certainly had interest in him," he said. "But as I've said all along, our complete commitment is to Dak Prescott and look forward to getting his deal at some point finished and getting him back on the field."
It's interesting to think that Eagles executives made a lot of the same comments back in the spring, when they eventually pulled the trigger on Hurts as the 53rd overall pick. And while it might be too soon to say what the future holds for both Hurts and Wentz, it has clearly prompted a lot of questions about the Eagles' quarterback position that weren't there before now.
That's a problem the Cowboys are likely thrilled they get to avoid. But also creates a problem all its own – facing him Sunday, and possibly for some time to come.
"We are going to have our hands full when we play Jalen, and his success in college speaks for itself," Jones said.
The Cowboys will take on the Philadelphia Eagles in their last home game of the regular season on Sunday, Dec. 27 at 3:25 p.m. A limited number of tickets are on sale now. Get yours now before they sell out!
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