While the Jalen Hurts Pick is Confusing it Does have Some Merit
The Eagles pulled off the most surprising move of the NFL draft in round two, stunning fans and draft analysts, selecting Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts.
While the team suggested how much it valued the backup quarterback, explaining the importance of bringing in Nick Foles before the 2017 season, this still has people scratching their heads.
"In the short term it doesn't really give them a return on investment in the kind of impact on the football field that you'd be expecting from a second round pick," explained ESPN's NFL front office insider Louis Riddick on Sportscenter.
The Eagles had plenty of needs when they were on the board at pick No. 53, and had plenty if enticing players to choose from that could have helped right away in 2020. Linebacker, corner, safety and even another wide receiver were all available at that pick, even adding depth to an aging offensive line could have been explained.
"I think they are playing the long game," Riddick suggested. "Jalen Hurts is really going to benefit going to a place like the Philadelphia, he is going to be coached by Doug Pederson, who is one of the best QB guru's and developers in the NFL."
So is Hurts here to challenge or push incumbent Carson Wentz? Do they see him as a Taysom Hill type of gadget players? Or will the add him to their offense in various ways to give opposing defenses different looks?
"Jalen Hurts is one of those guys who can maybe be combined with Carson Wentz," Riddick said. "They could form a 1-2 punch at quarterback, a Taysom Hill-type. That might be lofty expectations."
"Drafting quarterbacks is always an interesting situation," Riddick continued. "They might not provide great value to you, but they may be very valuable to others and that's always something good to have in the bank as far as someone that other teams could come and try and get and pay you a king's ransom for, so there's a lot of layers to it."
Eagles head coach Doug Pederson mentioned Hill and also Baltimore Ravens quarterback and current league MVP Lamar Jackson when talking about Hurts on Friday night.
"With Jalen Hurts, he has a unique skill set," Pederson acknowledged. "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."
The Eagles brass tried to make it clear that Wentz is still their man, especially after giving him a brand new four year, $128 million extension with the Eagles on June 10, 2019. Wentz, the No. 2 pick of the 2016 NFL Draft, threw for a career-high 4,039 passing yards in 2020 and 27 touchdowns with just seven picks with very little in terms of a supporting cast.
"We have shown how we feel about Carson by our actions," Eagles Executive Vice President/General Manager Howie Roseman stressed on Friday night.
"We showed it by the amount of picks we put into him, and we showed it by the contract extension, and we believe this is a guy to lead us to our next Super Bowl championship. For better or worse, we are quarterback developers. We want to be a quarterback factory. We have the right people in place to do that. No team in the National Football League has benefitted more from developing quarterbacks than the Philadelphia Eagles."
While that all might be true, considering Wentz's age, just 27-years old, the pick is still a surprise. However, it doesn't mean it doesn't have some merit.
"The Eagles felt it was worth bringing in a quarterback with incredible leadership, incredible toughness, a dual-threat, be a wrinkle and set him up to take over down-the-road, but right now he is an extra tool," ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit said.
"This is an excellent situation for Jalen Hurts, he can sit behind Carson Wentz, but he is going to play. Because of his skill-set, he can do so many thing, he is going to get on the field, he's going to see the field his first season. Pederson is a brilliant offense mind and will have special packages for Hurts every week, just to stretch the defense.
"This is perfect for the Eagles and Jalen Hurts."
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