We all know how important the backup quarterback position is. The prioritization of that spot resulted in the 11-2 Eagles passing the torch to Nick Foles in December of 2017, which saw Doug Pederson’s team hardly skip a beat en route to capturing the first Super Bowl title in franchise history.
You know it, I know it, and Howie Roseman knows it, but the Eagles General Manager went a little too far with the second round selection of Jalen Hurts on Friday night, trying to be “ahead of the curve” and taking an unconventional approach to a draft that should have been pretty straightforward. He needed to add receivers, a linebacker, a safety, and some pieces to round out the roster elsewhere. Roseman did address those positions but did it in a baffling and backwards order, screwing up overall draft goodwill by reaching for a quarterback at #53 overall.
It’s a ridiculous pick for the following reason:
1. You needed players at other positions in the second round
It’s not selection of Jalen Hurts that should bother anybody. It’s the fact that they took him in the second round, which resulted in the first four picks looking like this:
- Jalen Reagor (WR)
- Jalen Hurts (QB)
- Davion Taylor (LB)
- K’Von Wallace (safety)
There were difference makers on the board at #53 overall. Jeremy Chinn was still there. Van Jefferson. A.J. Epenesa, Denzel Mims, and Logan Wilson were available. There were opportunities to draft the same positions but do it in an order that made more sense, for example:
- Jalen Reagor (WR)
- Logan Wilson (LB)
- Jalen Hurts (QB)
- K’Von Wallace (safety)
They could have tried for Hurts in the third round while taking a more polished and complete linebacker in the second round.
Or, you could have done something like this:
- Jalen Reagor (WR)
- Wilson / Chinn / Jefferson / etc
- Taylor, Terrell Burgess / etc
- Hurts, or (QBs Jacob Eason or Jake Fromm if Hurts was off the board)
If they went something like Reagor / Chinn / Taylor / Hurts (or Eason/Fromm), in that order, it would be much more palatable. You would have still added a good backup quarterback on a rookie contract while addressing your needs at other positions in the first three rounds, instead of reaching for a QB and then going for a project linebacker in the third round and safety in the fourth round.
2. Jalen Hurts is not Taysom Hill
One of the most aggravating things to hear this weekend was the Taysom Hill comparison. Hill does bullshit gadget plays and comes in to run wildcat snaps in New Orleans.
No disrespect to Taysom Hill, but Jalen Hurts is 400x the player he was coming out of college. Throwing him on the field for a handful of running or gadget plays each game would make me die a little inside. He’s too good to be used that way.
Hurts is the real deal. Go look through his 2016 game log when Alabama played eight ranked teams before getting #4 Washington and #2 Clemson in the playoff. Go through the 2019 log, when he quarterbacked Oklahoma to a 12-1 record before running into the LSU buzz saw.
Hurts is simply too good to used in gimmicky bullshit formations. He’s a great player and stud athlete who is closer to Lamar Jackson than Taysom Hill on the spectrum of hybrid pass/run NFL quarterbacks. Either develop him properly or give him the reins outright. Turning Jalen Hurts into Taysom Hill would be a huge insult.
3. You undermined your franchise quarterback
Does Carson Wentz need kick in ass? Does he need to prove himself?
I find that take hard to believe after he went out last season and won four straight division games to win the NFC East, throwing to receivers like Deontay Burnett, Greg Ward, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, and Josh Perkins. And the playoff game is what it is. If you’re concussed from a rough hit by Jadeveon Clowney, then most quarterbacks are headed to the sidelines. That scenario doesn’t have anything to do with him being “injury prone,” he got his head driver into the grass from behind.
I think Tyrone at 97.5 summed it up nicely when he wrote this on Twitter:
“Wentz went in as a franchise QB & came out fighting for his job”
Here’s a quote from Roseman on this topic:
Q. Howie, you guys have made a lot of efforts to have a comfortable environment for Carson Wentz and to make sure that you’re throwing your full support around him. Why risk the fact that it could lead to — certainly it’s going to be a conversation, but potential controversy and create that potential dynamic around him? (Tim McManus)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: Well, obviously we looked at this from all angles, and we didn’t think this was much different than when we brought Nick Foles in, the amount of money we gave Nick Foles as a backup quarterback in 2017 and then bringing him back in 2018. And I bring up Nick because Jalen is that kind of teammate. He obviously had to take a backseat to Tua in Alabama for a little bit and we’re in a situation where we brought Nate Sudfeld back, and Nate has been very clear that he wants an opportunity to go lead a team. So we kind of looked at the future of our football team and said we keep getting in this situation and we keep kind of putting in resources, and to get a guy in here that can be in the system and learn and grow, that to us, it’s worth its weight in gold. That position, that room, we want good people in it. That room, we want to be a strong room, and we know what kind of person this guy is. We know what kind of support he’ll throw behind our starter, and again, that’s our priorities. Our priorities are that, and most importantly that quarterback position.
This is mostly bullshit. Nick Foles was contemplating retirement and was talked into continuing his NFL career by Andy Reid. He CLEARLY returned to Philadelphia to back up Carson Wentz. There was no controversy at the beginning of the 2017 season because the Eagles DIDN’T USE A SECOND ROUND DRAFT PICK ON FOLES THAT SAME SEASON. In 2018, the situation was different because Wentz was COMING OFF A TORN ACL AND WASN’T GOING TO BE READY FOR THE START OF THE SEASON.
Also, Hurts TRANSFERRED from Alabama because he had to sit behind Tua. I know it’s different at each level, since in the college ranks he was fighting for his NFL future, but to use the ‘Bama situation as example of Hurts taking a previous backseat seems really myopic to me.
That brings me to my next point:
4. Hurts should have gone to a team that needs a QB
Jalen Hurts, of course, should have no problem coming in and learning behind an established NFL quarterback. But in this case, that guy is a 27-year-old franchise quarterback, and not some 37 year old, soon-to-be retiree. This isn’t Daniel Jones coming in to replace Eli Manning. If Carson Wentz stays healthy and on the field, then Hurts will not be getting play time outside of whatever Taysom Hill-esque horseshit they can conjure up.
That’s why I think the selection also undermines Hurts himself, since he’s now scratching his head and saying, “what kind of situation am I in?” You could tell from his quotes and his body language and demeanor that he was a little bit shell shocked to be taken at that spot in the draft. He would have made a lot more sense as a third or fourth round draft pick who could come and in and compete for a starting spot on the Redskins or Bills, or even be cultivated as a Philip Rivers replacement in Indy.
5. You gave new life to the haters while simultaneously creating a media and fan controversy
The best thing about last season’s four-game winning streak was that we finally silenced the Never-Wentz/Folesian Society portion of the fan base. And look, if you love Nick Foles and think they should have kept him two years ago, that’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with you opinion, but the problem is that we kept hearing all of this pro-Foles and anti-Wentz stuff long after the Eagles’ inevitable decision was made. They were always going to keep Wentz and allow Foles to get paid in free agency, so arguing about it every five seconds is pointless. We all knew what the plan was.
With the Hurts selection, Howie sent a clear message here. He doesn’t trust Wentz and neither does the coaching staff. If they did, they wouldn’t have grabbed a QB in round two, a move that breathed new life into the portion of the fan base that dislikes Wentz and thinks he’s “soft” or “injury-prone” or a “pussy” or whatever other stuff you hear at your uncle’s house when watching the game.
I don’t think people realize how much of a shit show this is going to be. If you thought the Michael Vick and Tim Tebow signings resulted in a feeding frenzy, wait until we’ve processed this. It’s going to be a train wreck, as Les Bowen is alluding to here:
Q. You mentioned Nick Foles a minute ago. I think we all know that that wasn’t a long-term situation that could be comfortable, and that was why Nick Foles was allowed to go elsewhere. It seems like you’re kind of setting up the same situation again with a highly-regarded quarterback coming in. Every incomplete pass that Carson Wentz throws, people will be looking at Jalen Hurts. Why do you want to do that? (Les Bowen)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I don’t agree with that. I think that Carson is a phenomenal player, and we think Carson is a phenomenal player. Nobody is going to be looking at a rookie quarterback as somebody who’s going to be taking over a Pro Bowl quarterback, a guy who’s been on the cusp of winning an MVP. At the end of the day, I’m going to go back to who we are and what we believe in. We believe in the quarterback position. We believe this guy, when we saw our board and we looked over the guys that we thought we could pick at this point, the board had kind of gone in a different direction, and we just felt like we are stewards of the organization. Our job is to make sure that the organization is strong at the positions we believe in. That’s O-line and D-line. We put resources into both those positions. We’ll continue to put resources into those positions and the quarterback positions.
Again, we’ll continue to put weapons around our starting quarterback, our Pro-Bowl starting quarterback. But we felt like when we got off this call and we met as a small group, this was the direction we wanted to go, and we felt like this was the right move for the Philadelphia Eagles going forward.
Howie doesn’t have to “agree” with it, but Les is 100% right. Every time Wentz messes up, people are gonna be calling for Jalen Hurts. They’re going to rain boos down on the field. They’re going call 94 WIP and 97.5 the Fanatic and ask when the second-round QB is going to play. And those questions will actually be justified, since you don’t draft quarterbacks at #53 overall just to sit on the bench for four years and ride out their rookie contracts. (Plus, even if Hurts outplays Wentz, wins the job, and goes on to make five-straight Pro Bowls, you’d then find yourself stuck with the huge contract you just gave Carson)
This was an absolutely appalling draft pick, and the people trying to justify it are only trying to be contrarians.