The Eagles needed a backup quarterback. We knew this. My bold prediction ahead of this draft was that the team would select one prior to the fourth round, but I did not foresee this absolute whirlwind. The Eagles shocked the world by picking Jalen Hurts with the 53rd overall pick. But what exactly was the method behind the madness?
The need for a developmental arm is clear. That doesn’t mean one should be taken in the second round, so let me preface with that, but the need was obvious. Nate Sudfeld has been unable to climb to the rung of QB2 and has been kept on a very tight leash when dropped into the deep end, and the team can’t rely on veterans, who have participated in all 3 of the team’s playoff appearances in the Doug Pederson era.
Jeffrey Lurie cited last year that he wanted to get back to drafting a quarterback every year and there’s a very good chance that with this in mind, combined with the fact that Clayton Thorson was a total disaster in the fifth-round, there may have been a push to find a real talent.
The New England Patriots did this (in a very different circumstance) with Tom Brady. Jimmy G and Jacoby Brissett were taken under TB12’s wings and developed before later being flipped for significant returns. The methodology here is clear.
Drafting a quarterback to develop into a reliable backup behind Carson Wentz makes a ton of sense. Jalen Hurts does have starting potential and will at least add some level of competition. Worst case scenario, he’s traded after playing 0 snaps for a lesser return. Best case scenario, he sees action at some stage, enough to build a portfolio, and the Eagles cash in on not only the in-game performances, but increased value.
I also think this helps Carson Wentz prepare for the bigger-picture. He’s 27-years old. Another contract in and this pick would be his replacement. If Wentz can go from learner to leader and help bring Hurts along before he’s flipped, the next time he enters that situation, he can help stabilize the franchise without friction when passing the baton.
At least…that what makes sense to me. Then Doug Pederson spoke.
“With Jalen Hurts, he has a unique skill set. You see what Taysom Hill has done in New Orleans and now he and [Saints QB] Drew Brees have a connection there and a bond there, and you even look at — when [Joe] Flacco and [Ravens QB] Lamar [Jackson] in Baltimore for the short period of time, how they gelled together. It’s just something we’re going to explore. I want to make a point here first and foremost that Jalen Hurts is a good quarterback, and he was drafted as a quarterback and he’s a quarterback first, but he has a unique skill set that he’s a great runner. Obviously, he throws well on the run. He has a unique set of skills that we’re going to take a look at as we keep developing this off-season and this advancement, so to speak, as we get ready for training camp.”
I don’t know about that one. Sure, Hurts did have close to 1,300 rushing yards last year in his Heisman runner-up campaign, becoming the first QB since 1981 to lead the Sooners in scoring and the first since 1988 to lead them in rushing yards.
Press Taylor spoke about the idea of having two capable quarterbacks on the field at the same time, but this feels like a reach and a half just to try and capitalize on a ‘new wave’ that may not even be that productive.
However, that’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to question marks.
Carson Wentz has to walk past a statue of Nick Foles every single day on his way into the NovaCare Complex. He has to live with the memory of watching his team win from the sidelines. A $128M deal may make him ‘the guy’, but if you tell your trusting girlfriend that you’re meeting with a Super-Model, she’s going to at least have a mild concern.
While Roseman’s insistance that this pick bares no reflection on Wentz, it may have the inverse effect on a soon-to-be father who has had nothing but troubling situation after troubling situation so far. He just can’t catch a break and now, even if Hurts isn’t his potential replacement, this pick just stinks of ignorance.
The man in question
Hurts may have been known for being benched in favor of Tua on the grandest stage under Saban’s guidance, but after transferring to Oklahoma, the 6’2, 218 lbs, QB had his best season yet, proving there was more in the tank. In 2019, he threw for the highest amount of yards in his college career (3,851) with a 69% completion rate and his best touchdown to interception ratio (32:8). Hurts also ran for 1,298 yards.
The pick in question
This is the troubling part. The Eagles needed a backup QB, but at pick 53, the Eagles had the board fall perfectly into their laps. Names like CB Kristian Fulton, DE A.J Epenesa, and even LB Willie Gay Jr were ALL available. Instead, the Eagles overcompensated for a failed fifth-round pick and in a dream scenario, you hope he never sees the field.
Hurts deserves a starting shot. He only gets that at the expense of your most prized possession in Philly. If the Eagles want to become a QB factory, great, develop one. James Morgan was sitting pretty later on. There was no need to reach for this caliber of talent without it looking horrendously uncoordinated.
Jalen Hurts may not have a long tenure with the Eagles and there are benefits to this move, but the fact it came at the price of pick 53 when there were so many options that can help this team is down-right terrifying.
Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports