The NFL Draft was always going to be a minefield for the Philadelphia Eagles. No matter what they did, fans and analysts alike were anxiously hovering their fingers over the panic button. Just one year removed from drafting Jalen Hurts, a decision that sparked many catalysts that led to the ugly end to what was previously a very impressive era, the concern was that Howie Roseman would do it again. Instead, he surprisingly waited until after the Draft to add a developmental arm in the way of Jamie Newman.
Getting to know Jamie Newman
At 6’2, 234 lbs, Newman is a dual-threat quarterback who defines low-risk, high-reward. He transferred from Wake Forest to Georgia in 2020 with the intent of boosting his draft stock, but a COVID-stricken season impacted the community and family of the future Eagles QB, forcing his hand in a decision to sit out his final collegiate season. If he had a chance to work in the Bulldogs offense and iron out some of his deficiencies, there was a chance he could’ve ascended higher up draft boards.
He brings a skill-set that mirrors the one Jalen Hurts possesses as QB who has a strong arm and enough juice to pull the ball down and pick up big chunks of yardage on the ground. He completed 260 out of 361 passes in 2019 (60.9%) for 2,868 yards, 26 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He also added 574 yards and 6 scores by rushing.
Jamie Newman has proven that he can make all of the needed NFL throws, the main problem is consistency with ball-placement. On top of that, coming out of a simple offense that demanded quick one-read hits and a heavy dose of RPO’s that showcased all-or-nothing play without giving Newman much in the way of flexibility to show what he can do as a complete quarterback. As a result of this, there is some concern over his tendency to lock onto early reads and give away the script for lurking safeties and corners. That’s exactly what you’d expect from an undrafted QB, but the upside he brings to the table isn’t.
In 2019, Newman garnered a PFF grade of 96.5 on throws of over 20+ yards, second to only Joe Burrow in the entire nation. He had just one play deemed ‘turnover worthy’ in 71 passes. Of those 71 passes, 13 went for touchdowns and only 3 ended in a turnover.
Without much in the way of a dominant receiving target who could generate separation, most of his throws were launched into tight windows, where his accuracy issues and lack of zip at times were displayed. According to PFF, 53.2% of his passes that season were thrown into tight windows, which is 5% higher than any other quarterback, showing just how little Newman had to work with and contextualizing why he grew lenient on his athletic ability to bail the offense out of tricky spots.
So what the Eagles may have stumbled upon is a quarterback who has the size, arm-talent, and athletic ability to develop into a serviceable starter at the next level, and a player who had he played in 2020, may well have cost them a lot more than a simple UDFA contract. The better news is that the team now have the right pieces in place to help him take that next step.
QB Coach Press Taylor was replaced with Florida’s Brian Johnson, who unlike his predecessor, actually had a strong background developing talent at the collegiate level. From coaching up future Dallas Cowboys Dak Prescott to three consecutive bowl games, to getting the best out of Kyle Trask and helping him ascend from a backup to a second-round pick, there’s a lot to like here, especially when it comes to Jamie Newman.
“Jamie is an impressive — he’s got great stature. He’s a big man.” Head Coach Nick Sirianni said during rookie minicamp. “As we watch tape on him, too, he’s hard to bring down. He’s a really good athlete, hard to bring down. He’s really sharp in the classroom. You can see why he was successful at Wake Forest when he was there. You know, he’s got qualities that you want to be able to develop, and so good first day for Jamie.”
Whether or not Jamie Newman can develop into a future QB2 for Jalen Hurts is going to be the big question that hangs over his head during his time in Philadelphia, but it’s not as if the Eagles went all-in on the assumption that the future is already written. However, they’ve assembled a strong coaching staff who could absolutely be perfectly positioned to squeeze every last drop of juice out of him and take his play to a level much higher than Nate Sudfeld could ever reach.
Photo by Daniel Kucin Jr./Icon Sportswire