Extra Points: Eagles Pull Off Shocking Move in Second Round
It made no sense.
The Eagles pulled off a shocking move Friday, using their second-round pick to take Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts.
"I'm trying to get my arms around this pick," former Eagles quarterback and draft analyst Ron Jaworski said Friday on Twitter. "Sorry I'm a little rattled."
Jaworski, former owner of the Atlantic City Blackjacks of the defunt Arena Football League, was not alone in his feelings.
That's not to suggest Hurts can't help them. The 6-foot-2, 218-pounder could be used in a variety of roles, similar to the way Taysom Hill is used in New Orleans.
"I think this player has unique skill set," Eagles coach Doug Pederson said on a teleconference Friday. "You see how Taysom Hill and Drew Brees have that connection. You even saw it a little bit with Joe Flacco and Lamar (Jackson) in Baltimore. It's something we're going to explore. First and foremost is Jalen Hurts was drafted as quarterback, but he's a great runner, throws well on the run and has a unique set of skills we'll take a look at."
The problem with the pick is that you don't take a projected backup and niche player in the second round.
Your second-round draft pick is supposed to be a potential starter and that's not going to happen with Carson Wentz, the $128-million man, on the team.
Eagles general manager Howie Roseman, however, evidently feels differently.
"Quarterback is the most important position in sports," Roseman said on a teleconference Friday. "For better or worse, we're quarterback developers. We want to be a quarterback factory. We looked at this from all angles. It's worth its weight in gold to have strong people in that (quarterback) room."
The problem was, the Eagles had so many other needs at other positions. Drafting Hurts, who was the runnerup in the Heisman Trophy voting behind LSU's Joe Burrow, meant ignoring players who could have made immediate impacts in other areas.
By taking Hurts, the Eagles bypassed highly rated players such as Baylor wide receiver Denzel Mims, Wisconsin linebacker Zack Baun, and Temple center Matt Hennessy. Mims was drafted by the New York Jets later in the second round, Baun went to the Saints in the third and Hennessy became an Atlanta Falcon in the third.
"The draft is not about doing whatever is best for the team in the short-term," Roseman said. "This is about the long-term and we feel confident this can help us in the short-term and the long-term."
Hurts is viewed as a tremendous player and person. He impressed everyone with the way he handled his tenure at Alabama after being benched in favor of Tua Tagovailoa - who was drafted No. 4 overall by Miami on Thursday - in 2017. Hurts refused to create controversy, serving as a backup for the Crimson Tide in 2018 before transferring to Oklahoma.
He enjoyed a tremendous season with the Sooners as Kyler Murray's successor. Hurts threw for 3,851 yards and 32 touchdowns against eight interceptions while also rushing for 1,298 yards and 21 TDs.
"Going to Oklahoma gave me the opportunity to play and show what I've learned," Hurts said Friday in a teleconference. "Now I'm just looking forward to the opportunity to be part of the (Eagles) organization. It's an opportunity for me to take steps and grow and become the best quarterback I can possibly be. It's surreal. I'm just blessed to have this opportunity."
But despite that production, the only way he sees the field for the Eagles is if Wentz, who signed a four-year, $128 million contract last year, gets hurt yet again.
The move takes away Wentz's comfort level, however.
Despite his success last season, there remains a contingent of Eagles fans and followers who are quick to point out that Wentz has yet to win his first playoff game while Nick Foles holds legendary status for leading the Birds to a championship in Super Bowl LII.
Those same fans will be heard from again this season. Every interception, fumble or ill-timed throw from Wentz will prompt calls for Hurts to take over.
"I don't agree," Roseman said. "Carson's a phenomenal player and nobody's going to be overlooking a quarterback who was on the cusp of winning MVP (in 2017). We've shown how we feel about Carson by our actions with (draft) picks and his contract extension. This is the guy who is leading us to our next Super Bowl championship."
Their actions on Friday also spoke louder than their words.
Maybe Wentz isn't their future after all.
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