The Eagles Should Give Serious Thought to Trading Both Carson Wentz and Jalen Hurts and Drafting a Quarterback Instead
What if the Eagles’ current predicament is not simply boiled down to Jalen Hurts vs. Carson Wentz? What if there was a third option, to trade BOTH quarterbacks and draft a rookie at #6 overall? 94 WIP and 97.5 the Fanatic would receive so many phone calls that the control board would malfunction and explode.
I’ve been trying to talk myself into this idea for a few weeks now, and it’s not because I dislike Jalen Hurts. He seems like somebody who can become a quality NFL quarterback. I’m just fascinated with the idea of tearing this thing down entirely and doing a total rebuild. We’re talking carpet padding, sub floor, and concrete slab. Rip it all up! Let’s reduce this thing to the studs and build it back up from there, like Bob Vila on This Old House.
Hurts did show some flashes in the small sample size we were given this year, and he could very well become a quality NFL quarterback. There’s some concern about his tendency to leave the pocket early and I’m not sure if he’s got the arm strength or passing chops to be a truly elite player. We have to remind ourselves that Hurts was a 2nd round pick who was projected as a third rounder last year. In this draft, the Eagles are going to have a legitimate shot at first round talent, and if you can rebuild with that kind of player vs. a second-year, second-rounder, then wouldn’t you do it?
It brings us to our first question:
1. Is a franchise quarterback guaranteed to be there at #6 overall?
We all assume that Trevor Lawrence will go #1 to the Jaguars. A number of mocks have the Jets taking a quarterback at number #2 and moving on from Sam Darnold. Same with the Falcons at #4, who need to find their QB of the future to replace the aging Matt Ryan.
The X-factor here is #3 overall, and whether or not the Miami Dolphins stick with Tua Tagovailoa or perhaps trade out of that spot with a QB-hungry team (think Carolina). That would create a scenario where Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Justin Fields, and even Trey Lance all go off the board before the Eagles pick (the Bengals pick fifth and already have their QB).
In that case, I think you just take Ja’Marr Chase, stick with Hurts, and call it a day, because there really isn’t a QB outside of the tier 1 group who projects in the top 10. Mac Jones? Dunno. He’s more of a 10-15 guy, though he could rise as we get closer to the draft.
(edit – I should point out that they could certainly trade up to three if they LOVED a particular prospect)
2. Are these guys better than Hurts?
Lawrence absolutely is. But he’ll be gone.
Wilson I believe is better. He’s 6’3″, 210 pounds, an athletic guy with a good arm who scouts think could benefit from adding another 10 pounds. He threw for 3,692 yards and 33 touchdowns this year against a crop of opponents that included Boise State, Coastal Carolina, and UCF. Those squads aren’t world beaters, but they’re pretty good. The film you’d probably be more interested in is Wilson’s early sophomore tape against Pac-12 opponents USC, Washington, and Utah, when he threw two touchdowns and three picks. The Cougars did take out USC in overtime and also had a double OT win at Tennessee that season, so Wilson has a lot of experience playing in clutch situations. He can make every throw.
Fields was in the national title game this year and threw six TDs against Clemson in the semifinal. Ohio State didn’t play a full schedule, but he still finished with 22 touchdowns to follow up last year’s 41 tuddy effort. He’s 6’3″, 220, and a damn good runner, too, which makes him a versatile choice at the next level. The one knock against Fields is that he had some clunkers this season, notably against Indiana and Northwestern. Among this group of QBs, he’s most similar to Hurts, so we’d have to do a more in-depth comparison between the two to determine if drafting Fields would be redundant with Hurts already in the fold.
Lance is weird case. Why? Well North Dakota State only played one game this year because of COVID. He’s a redshirt sophomore and very young, so the only decent film we have on him is the 2019 campaign, when he threw for 28 touchdowns and zero picks against a FCS schedule. The Bison went 16-0 that year and won the FCS championship in a game where Lance only threw ten passes but ran the ball 30 times for 166 yards and a score. The opposing quarterback was Dallas Cowboys legend Ben DiNucci, playing for James Madison.
So obviously there’s more to dig into with Lance, who went to the same school as Carson Wentz and will inevitably draw griping and complaining, i.e. “oh my God surely they can’t draft another North Dakota State guy.”
3. What kind of haul does trading Wentz and Hurts return?
For starters, let’s look at the Eagles’ current 2021 draft picks:
- round one: natural pick (6th overall)
- round two: natural pick (37th)
- round three: natural pick (70th)
- round five: natural pick
- round five: pick from Cowboys (they moved up last year to draft Tyler Biadasz)
- round six: natural pick
- round seven: natural pick
They don’t have a fourth rounder because of the Genard Avery trade, but might snag a few compensatory picks, which we’ll find out soon enough.
Let’s assume that Wentz does not return two first rounders, which seems crazy. Let’s just say they get a first rounder back for him. And then for the sake of the exercise they move Hurts for a late second and get back what they used last year (this is just a guess so bear with me).
The Eagles would then have two first rounders, two second rounders, a third, two fives, a six, a seven, and comp picks on the way.
That is a GREAT way to restock, and this team needs it badly. If you got Indy’s first rounder, #21 overall, you could probably go QB/LB or QB/WR in the first round, then add a corner in the second round. The possibilities here are endless, and then you go out and sign a cheap veteran to mentor your rookie QB for a season. Ryan Fitzpatrick?
4. Why do this, anyway?
My thought is that you’re starting over with a 39-year-old first time head coach, and pairing Nick Sirianni with a first-round draft pick seems like a more viable long-term strategy vs. working with a second round QB from one year prior. Keep in mind that Wilson, Fields, or Lance would come with five years of team control, while Hurts is only under contract for three more seasons and hits free agency in 2024, so you’d have to pay him sooner than most people realize.
I like Jalen Hurts and think he can be a really good player, but it’s honestly not even about him at this point. I would feel more excited about a complete tear down and ground-up rebuild. This team isn’t just a wide receiver away from competing. They need linebackers, a corner, interior line depth, another running back, and so much more. If the option to restock via trading both quarterbacks exists, then that’s a path I’d like to travel. This team desperately needs to get younger and cheaper.
You tell me; is this a good idea? Bad idea? Pipe dream?