Alright everyone can relax now. Whether you are a Bradford supporter or not, it is nice to have this whole situation resolved. Bradford will lead this team for at least this year, and more than likely next year as well. After those two years though, it is anyone’s guess who could be quarterbacking this team. Now that Bradford is the solidified starter, he will get the first shot to audition to be the team’s quarterback of the future, and it would not be surprising to see the Eagles try and get him some help in the first round. After that first round however, the team MUST draft at least one quarterback to sit behind Bradford and maybe one day compete for the job. Here are some late round, high upside quarterbacks that the Eagles might want to snag on Day 2 or 3 of the draft.
Connor Cook / Michigan State
Projected Round: 2-3
Before the season, the Michigan State signal caller was thought by many to be a mid-first round pick. During his final season with the Spartans, character and talent concerns pushed him out of the first round completely. Cook is an accomplished college quarterback with a solid arm and excellent poise. His quick reads and short passing accuracy are his biggest strengths, and as we saw with Kansas City and Alex Smith, Pederson could put those strengths to good use. As it was mentioned earlier, his character has been questioned all year and once he misses the first or second receiver in his progression and is forced to move, things can get a bit hairy.
Bottom Line: Cook has not lost all of his glamour that had him penciled in the first round a year ago, but there are legitimate reasons as to why he may not pan out in the NFL.
Christian Hackenberg / Penn State
Projected Round: 3-4
I know, I know. The former five star recruit is not the name that most people want to hear, especially here at Philly Sports Network (find out why here), but hear me out. After watching Hackenberg live for over ten or so games, I understand that there are some severe kinks to be worked out, specifically his accuracy. He also needs to handle the blitz much better if he even wants to sniff a starting quarterback spot at the next level.
With all that said, Hackenberg is still very promising. In his freshman year with an actual high level offensive coach (James Franklin ran a pop warner offense) like Bill O’Brien, Hackenberg flourished with 20 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Fast forward a year later, and in comes James Franklin. With Franklin, Hackenberg shockingly regressed, but Franklin was simply not the coach for Hackenberg. He failed to cater his system to the quarterback and Hackenberg’s play reflected it.
Hackenberg has everything you want in a quarterback. He’s big, durable, and sneakily athletic with a very strong arm. Yes, his accuracy is a huge problem but he has all the tools to fix that. Right now, because he regressed so much under Franklin, I see Hackenberg as an incoming freshman who is jumping to the NFL, which can be quite frightening to think about.
Bottom Line: He may have to sit for 4 or 5 years to develop properly, but if you coach him right, “Hack” could be the next great quarterback in the NFL.
Dak Prescott / Mississippi State
Projected Round: 3-5
Prescott, before really progressing in his senior year at Mississippi State, was thought to be just another SEC run first, bruising quarterback who would never be drafted by an NFL team. Instead, Prescott has played his way into consideration to be selected in the middle rounds. We have seen that Pederson will use a quarterback’s ability to run in some packages, and there may not be a better option than Prescott.
He is still a project as a passer but again, now that Bradford is locked up, the Eagles can afford to really wait and groom a player like Prescott. If he can develop in the NFL as quickly as he did in the SEC, a team would be lucky to steal him in the later rounds.
Bottom Line: He may be the biggest project in the first four rounds, but his natural skill and ability to progress gives him a chance to be a quality starter in the NFL.
Other Names to Consider:
Cardale Jones / Ohio State
Projected Round: 5-7
Jones was a stud in his championship season with the Buckeyes but he really played poorly in his final season in Columbus and he showed up to the combine overweight. He may not even be draft worthy anymore.
Brandon Allen / Arkansas
Projected Round: 6-7
Yes, his hand size (8.5 inches) has concerned many scouts, but Allen might just turn into a solid NFL quarterback. With 30 tds and just 8 int in a very tough SEC, the senior proved that he could play. He is such a long shot to even touch an NFL field as a starter, but hey, it happened with Tom Brady.
photo credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports