Three former Huskers heard their names called during the 2022 NFL Draft, a big step toward making their professional dreams come true. For Cam Jurgens, Cam Taylor-Britt and Samori Touré, however, the work has only begun.
We’re taking a look at each of the three draft picks and their landing spots to get a feel for what the short-term and long-term future might hold for the former Huskers, starting with the first Husker off the board.
Jurgens, the former 4-star tight end recruit from Beatrice turned starting center in Lincoln, got the party started for the Huskers as he was the first day two pick for the program since 2016. The Philadelphia Eagles used the 19th pick in the second round (51st overall) on Jurgens.
The Eagles went 9-8 last season, using the best run attack in the league to qualify for the playoffs as a wildcard before losing to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the opening round.
Philadelphia made a big splash on day one of the draft, trading for Tennessee wideout AJ Brown and trading up in the draft to select Georgia defensive tackle Jordan Davis with the 13th overall pick. They stuck to the trenches in round two with Jurgens.
The 6-foot-3, 303-pound center is a bit undersized for an NFL lineman, but the Eagles tend to value mobility over sheer power and stature at center and Jurgens certainly fits the bill. Nebraska took advantage of his athleticism quite a bit during his time in Lincoln and that likely caught the eye of the Philadelphia scouts.
In fact, there might not have been a better landing spot for Jurgens anywhere in the league. The Eagles have one of the most well respected offensive line coaches in the league in Jeff Stoutland and a future hall of famer at center in Jason Kelce, who is nearing the end of his career.
For all of his athleticism, Jurgens is still a relatively raw prospect as he didn’t move to the offensive line until late in his first season at Nebraska. He spent his four seasons at Nebraska reshaping his body from that of a tight end to that of an interior lineman, all while learning technique on the fly. With Kelce as the incumbent, Jurgens can spend his rookie season learning from a great coach and a great player at his position rather than being thrown into the fire from day one.
What makes the fit even more intriguing is that Kelce apparently played a big part in the selection and gave Jurgens his seal of approval.
“Yeah, I knew we were taking him,” Kelce told Bleacher Report during the draft. “So, this is my favorite player in the draft. I’m not just saying that because we picked him. The Eagles have been using me to, like, evaluate some of the centers that have been coming out. And of all the guys that I’ve looked at for the past two, three years … out of all the guys compared the most to myself, this guy is him. He is so athletic, so fast. You see him out in space. He runs, he’s a natural athlete. You see the fluidity. He played tight end, a position convert. He’s only been playing offensive line for two years. 4.92 [second 40-yard dash], 1.7 [second 10-yard split], 7.19 three cone. This guy is a freak athletically. He has the best chance to be a difference-maker at the center position. I like this kid a lot, I really do.”
Jurgens’ 4.92-second 40-yard dash was the fastest time for a center at the NFL Combine since… Kelce ran a 4.89 in 2011.
If all goes according to plan, Jurgens will be able to serve as the Eagles’ back-up center as a rookie and essentially redshirt his first season, learning from some of the best in the game and preparing to slide into the starting lineup once Kelce hangs up his cleats for good. He’ll get a chance to play in a run-heavy system that takes advantage of his unique traits for a team that is looking to compete for a postseason bid.
As an added bonus, former Nebraska offensive line coach Greg Austin, who helped turn Jurgens from a tight end to a day-two draft pick, coached under Stoutland with the Eagles before joining Scott Frost’s staff at UCF, so he’s already familiar with some of the terminology and techniques that Stoutland will teach him.
Jurgens may have gotten a chance to compete for a starting job earlier in his career had he gone elsewhere, but if carving out a lengthy career is the goal it’s hard to think of a better landing spot than Philadelphia for the former Husker.
Jacob is in his third year with Hail Varsity covering Husker athletics. He has also written extensively for SB Nation’s Bright Side of the Sun and The Creightonian. His love of basketball can best be described as an obsession and if you need to find him, he’s probably in a gym somewhere watching, coaching or playing hoops.