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Is Jalen Hurts a legit NFL prospect? Kiper & McShay debate

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Hurts dazzles with four TDs in Oklahoma's win over Kansas (1:27)

Jalen Hurts puts on a show, throwing two touchdown passes and running for two more scores in Oklahoma's dominant win over Kansas. (1:27)

One of the biggest stories of the college football season has been the dominance of Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts, who transferred from Alabama and is leading the race for the Heisman Trophy. Could he follow in the footsteps of former Sooners signal-callers Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray and be a first-round pick?

We asked ESPN NFL draft experts Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay to evaluate Hurts' pro potential, where he fits in the 2020 NFL draft and how he compares to Mayfield and Murray.

Jump below for Kiper and McShay's picks for biggest risers and under-the-radar prospects to watch.


Jalen Hurts' NFL potential

Kiper: I didn't expect to see this Hurts for the Sooners. In his first two seasons at Alabama -- he went 26-2 with a national title as a starter from 2016 to 2017 -- I didn't think he was an NFL prospect. He just wasn't accurate enough as a passer. I thought maybe he was going to be another star college quarterback who just wasn't good enough for the NFL, which happens all the time. But then he looked a little bit different last season when he filled in for Tua Tagovailoa. His mechanics looked much better, and his accuracy improved.

McShay: He has continued that improvement at Oklahoma, showing off above-average arm strength and top-tier athleticism as a dual-threat quarterback. Hurts was a winner at Alabama and got the job done in big moments. But his numbers have popped to a new level this season as he learns under Lincoln Riley, who of course produced the past two Heisman Trophy winners and No. 1 picks in Mayfield and Murray. Hurts seems to be worrying less about making mistakes or turning the ball over and instead is playing more "grip-it-and-rip-it" football.

Kiper: The word I've used most when describing Hurts' rate of improvement? Astonishing. It's night and day from 2016 to now. How much of this improvement are you putting on Riley's system, Todd?