Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley talked with NFL Network's Andrew Siciliano on Friday to discuss OU's NFL Draft class.
From Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts being compared to New Orleans Saints backup quarterback Taysom Hill, to No. 17 NFL Draft pick CeeDee Lamb wearing No. 88 for the Dallas Cowboys, here's what Riley had to say.
Jalen Hurts and Taysom Hill as more than just quarterbacks
With Hurts' running ability showcased at Alabama and for the Sooners, NFL critics were quick to draw comparisons to Saints Swiss Army knife Taysom Hill once Hurts drafted No. 53 overall in the NFL Draft.
As a backup for veteran quarterback Drew Brees, Hill has accumulated 352 rushing yards and 238 receiving yards, and only 119 passing yards. He's garnered nine total touchdowns — three rushing and six receiving — which proves him to be a reliable offensive threat on creative play calling.
However, Riley said he doesn't see the similarities. Hurts rushed for 1,298 yards and 20 touchdowns in his senior year, and was a reliable source of yardage on the ground for the Sooners. But Hurts threw for 3,851 yards and 32 touchdowns, and was second behind Heisman Trophy winner and No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow in pass efficiency for the 2019 season, with 191.20.
"I think a little bit of those opinions are when people haven't really studied Jalen, his production or haven't watched the tape," Riley said. "There are similarities in that (Hill and Hurts) can do a lot of things. Nothing against Taysom Hill. You'd love to have him on any football team that you ever have, but I do believe that Philadelphia, and a lot of the other teams that were into Jalen, were looking at him purely as a quarterback (and were) excited about all the things he can do — bringing that winning attitude, bringing that versatile skillset."
Another aspect of these comparisons is in their sizes. Hurts is listed at 6-foot-1, 218 pounds, while Hill is an inch taller and listed at 221 pounds. Although Riley was only asked about Hurts as a quarterback, both of their athletic abilities contribute to their skillsets.
Hurts has shown his ability to do more than just run and throw, as he caught two passes for 25 yards and a touchdown at Oklahoma.
"I'm glad he got with a guy like (Eagles coach) Doug Peterson," Riley said, "who will do a great job of developing him and using him in a lot of creative ways."
CeeDee Lamb wearing No. 88
After leaving Oklahoma as one of its most prolific wide receivers, Lamb is going to have to take on the task of wearing No. 88 for the Dallas Cowboys, the number worn by NFL Hall of Famer and three-time Super Bowl champ Michael Irvin when he played for the Cowboys from 1988-99.
No pressure. But Riley said he expects Lamb will do all he can do to live up to number
"I think CeeDee will handle it well," Riley said. "He'll learn to ultimately be gauged and remembered on how he plays, not what number he wears. If he does well it's not because he has No. 88. If he doesn't it's not going to be because he has No. 88. He's confident in who he is as a player, he's very gifted and I think he's just going to get better and better. I'm excited about that situation for him going into an already strong offense with a really good young quarterback."
In his three years with the Sooners, Lamb tallied 3,292 receiving yards and 32 touchdowns. He caught for 1,327 yards in his junior year with the Sooners, which is fourth all-time in a single season for the program.