Before I get started, I just want to say a few things.
I hope Carson Wentz thrives and takes over the league in Indianapolis. I think Frank Reich and the Colts got a great deal for him, while Philadelphia got the best they could for Wentz. As long he’s healthy, they’ll surely get the 1st round pick they coveted throughout this entire process. Wentz is an uber-talented player, and I’m thrilled to see him rejuvenated under “new life” and a fresh start under new leadership. The Colts will be legitimate Super Bowl contenders for years to come with the way I evaluate Carson Wentz.
With that being said, I’ve had several heated discussions with some of my fellow Phenom Media members about whether Jalen Hurts can and should be “the guy” for the Eagles long-term as their franchise quarterback for what could be a decade plus.
As much as I love Hurts athletic ability, confidence, and mental game, I don’t think he has all the tools necessary to reach the ceiling that I believe the Eagles need to be a Super Bowl contending team. If the opportunity arises for them to take highly-touted a QB prospect like Justin Fields, Zach Wilson, or Trey Lance, how do you NOT take them? I understand the need for a WR (trust me…I of ALL people understand it), but I believe all 3 of those guys have better floors, ceilings, and the tools, intangibles, and potential to be much better than Jalen Hurts is in the present and future.
Reasons Against Drafting a QB
1. Justifying the Hurts pick
It wouldn’t make sense for the Eagles to give Hurts 4 games to showcase himself, when he did provide an offensive spark, yet not give him a look at all in the future since they took him in the second round. Giving Hurts the opportunity to see if he can be “the guy” for this franchise would make sense. While drafting a QB would be a move that is understandable, it could set the franchise back, because their would be a lack of firepower on the outside for the franchise quarterback to use anyway. So, it would be logical to have Hurts for a year, draft an offensive skill position this year, then re-evaluate Hurts.
2. Hurts’ Intangibles
Hurts showed at times he has tremendous poise in the pocket, and he also can be a phenomenal team leader. He has been a winner wherever he has been, especially in college. He seems to be contagious (in a good way) wherever he goes, and that might be exactly what the franchise and locker room needs.
Reasons For Drafting a QB
1. Getting Their Guy
Maybe the Eagles believe they just did not see enough out of Hurts in those 4 games to truly believe he can be their quarterback for 10 to 15 years. They might find him more as a top-tier backup in the NFL, or a guy who could have a career the likes of Nick Foles (we all know how that plays out). If the Eagles believe there is someone else with much more potential and ability as a passer that can be their franchise QB moving forward, they should take him. They should do what they believe is the best move for their franchise moving forward. If Zach Wilson, Justin Fields, or Trey Lance (who the Eagles are reportedly extremely intrigued by) are available, how can the Eagles pass up on that opportunity?
Hurts was a 2nd-round pick (and not a 1st-round pick) for a reason. He has some concerns as a passer, especially in terms of his accuracy and anticipation in the pocket. Even though Hurts plays with a gritty, mental (and physical) toughness, he struggles to throw receivers open. He had a 52% completion percentage, which ranked him 44th out of 44 NFL quarterbacks with at least 100 passing attempts in 2020. Just seven quarterbacks in the last decade have had a worse completion percentage (minimum 100 attempts). Jalen Hurts, when taking a deeper dive into it…is very, very similar to Tim Tebow as an NFL prospect and player.
3. Rare Opportunity
In the past 20 years, the Eagles have picked in the top 10 just twice. One pick was Carson Wentz, and the other was Lane Johnson. The Eagles rarely get this high up in the draft, so the likelihood of them getting the opportunity to take a franchise QB that is the caliber of this QB class will not happen for some time, so they cannot pass up on that opportunity. Worst case scenario, they miss out on all 4 of those QBs (Lawrence, Fields, Wilson, Lance), and they bring in Jacoby Brissett, Jameis Winston, or Andy Dalton for a year to assess not only Hurts more, but the QBs in the upcoming draft classes as well.
What I want to see happen is for Philadelphia to consider packaging Hurts and Zach Ertz together and seeing what they can get in a trade. If Pittsburgh parts ways with Ben Roethlisberger, I could see them having some interest in Hurts. If Jameis Winston does not return to the Saints, I also could see Sean Payton inquiring about Hurts’ availability. Atlanta and New Orleans both would provide great schematic fits for Hurts, too, and I wouldn’t rule out Chicago, either. As for Ertz, Seattle, Indianapolis, and Los Angeles (Chargers) have all expressed interest in trading for the former Pro Bowl TE. Prior to his mid-season injury, Philly nearly shipped him to Seattle. It would be an interesting package for sure because I think the Eagles could get value for a TE that I believe can still be elite, and a young QB that perform well under the right circumstances.
No matter what happens, Philadelphia will definitely at least look to add a veteran QB to compete with Hurts in the offaeason for the starting job this upcoming season. Someone like an Andy Dalton, Tyrod Taylor, Jacoby Brissett, and maybe even Jacoby Brissett could be names to keep an eye out for as cheap options. If the football gods let him go from Chicago, Nick Foles would be another option too. As for the draft, rumors as swarming about the Eagles’ interest in North Dakota State’s Trey Lance, the uber-talented QB who opted out of play this season to prep for the NFL Draft. Wentz and Lance both share the parallel of going to North Dakota State, and Lance shares several of the same intangibles as Jalen Hurts, except he finished last season with ZERO TURNOVERS. An entire season with zero turnovers, while being a highly-prolific dual threat QB as well. He’s the guy to keep an eye on at QB for Eagles fans worldwide.
Like I said, the Eagles should strongly consider drafting their true franchise quarterback of the future, and determine what to do with Hurts later. However, they don’t HAVE to do that. I would be just as content with Philadelphia taking LSU WR Ja’Marr Chase with the 6th pick too.