A quarterback was the last pick I would’ve expected the Eagles to make at 53 in the second round of the draft last Friday, yet a week later as I write this, this pick makes sense. Jalen Hurts was the most talented QB on the board at 53 and for the Eagles, the backup quarterback position is one of upmost importance. It may have not been the most popular pick but it was one that needed to be prioritized.
I want to get something straight. Carson Wentz is the franchise quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles. He’s paid like one and he plays like one. However, as hard as it is for some fans to admit, Wentz’s injury history is one that is a polarizing issue and it’s not that he’s injury prone, but the injuries are there. It’s a real thing and it’s something that General Manager Howie Roseman has to take into account when he makes moves. Selecting Jalen Hurts doesn’t mean the team has less faith in Wentz, it just suggests they are aware and they aren’t acting like what they’re seeing isn’t real. Eagles VP of player personnel, Andy Weidl flat out came out and said,”It’s just the insurance policy. No team in the league knows the value of an insurance policy at the QB (position) more than we do after what we went through in the 2017 season and what we experienced.” Let’s be frank here, Nick Foles was an anomaly (not a knock on Nick), a backup quarterback doesn’t come in and lead a team riddled with injuries to a Superbowl victory over the greatest organization in sports often. It just doesn’t happen often. It is and was Howie Roseman’s responsibility to the Eagles organization to make sure that, that position is sured up and if Wentz does get hurt, there isn’t a significant talent drop off (last January’s wild card vs Seattle is evidence of why). The move to select Hurts doesn’t show a lack of faith in Wentz, but it does show that the organization (specifically Howie Roseman) is aware of the reality of the situation involving Carson Wentz. Carson is a competitor, he’s dealt with this before. His college backup at North Dakota State came in and led the team to the national championship game (Wentz returned that game and won) and we all know about 2017 and the narratives and opinions that arose from that. Wentz is one of the mentally strongest athletes there is, sure anger or questioning yourself may creep in, but that’s where belief in self comes in and once you reign those thoughts back in, the only thing left to do is compete and prove all the doubters wrong.
Jalen Hurts brings a very athletic profile to the Philadelphia Eagles, as did every prospect in the 2020 draft class. However, he is talented as a thrower when given adequate protection and can make the intermediate and short (5-10 yards) throws. Where Hurts is most dynamic as a player, is when he gets out on the move. Either extending plays with his legs or on designed rollouts, Hurts legs are a factor defenses have to keep in mind when he is in the game. The area where Hurts stands to develop the most, is mental processing as far as reading defenses and trusting his eyes as a passer. Spare me the Taysom Hill comparisons or the narrative that, that will be his main usage, the guy is a QB first. Yes, he has the ability to be used in the redzone, on QB draws or in exotic packages that Doug Pederson and the offensive staff may design and he has even lined up as a receiver, but he was drafted to be a QB. Hurts brings an extensive scheme knowledge having played in Nick Saban’s pro style offense at Alabama and transferring to play in Lincoln Riley’s Air Raid/Spread style offense at Oklahoma. Hurts averaged 11.3 yards per pass with 3,851 yards and 32 touchdowns along with 1,298 yards and 20 touchdowns as a runner. Hurts at the NFL level will have to improve mechanics and as stated, mental processing as a thrower at the next level however, his athletic traits will allow him to be effective in Doug Pederson’s offense during his first few years. Some have called Hurts near Heisman season last year, a product of Lincoln Riley’s system and have tried to pencil him in as a “system QB” who needs a specific system to succeed, however Hurts says otherwise. “People create this term of like, the system quarterback but with the number of coaches I’ve played with, I am the system.
This pick as Andy Weidl said, was about insurance. Yes, Hurts has the ability to be used in the mold of a Taysom Hill, however, he is a quarterback first. Two members of the Eagles offensive staff other than Doug Pederson and Press Taylor who will be huge for Hurts, the first being: Rich Scangarello. Scangarello is renowned for the development of young quarterbacks such as Drew Lock and Jimmy Garappolo. Lock was quoted as saying, on Scangarello, “I love that guy. He teaches in such an awesome way. He’ll let you go out there and make a mistake and not rip you for that mistake unless you go back out there and do it again,” said Lock. “It’s something he’s really good at as well is being able to explain things on the board. A lot of guys need to come out here and run through everything in real life but he’s super good at teaching you and getting you ready in the quarterback room,” he continued. Rich Scangarello will be huge for Hurts development as far as what we as fans won’t see, in the meeting rooms and on the practice field.
The second member of the Eagles offensive staff that will have a huge impact on Hurts is Eagles passing game analyst, Andrew Breiner. Breiner main job, according to reports will be to implement “new philosophies” and concepts from the college ranks to the Eagles offense. Breiner will have a huge voice in how Hurts will be used considering his past in coaching players like Tommy Stephens and his relationship with Joe Moorehead, who was the offensive coordinator at Penn State when Trace McSorley was the quarterback. Breiner will be crucial to the implementation of any new concepts that involve using Hurts as anything other than just a QB.
The main (2) things Hurts brings to Philadelphia are confidence and a winners mentality. Hurts has been a winner, no matter where he’s went, whether it was winning the national championship at Alabama in 2018 or winning the Big 12 championship with Oklahoma in 2019, Hurts is a winner. When the pick was made, Howie Roseman talked about the type of person Hurts was and how much of a great teammate he was to go along with his talent level and competitiveness and that rings true, even going back to 2018 with the Tua Tagovailoa controversy at Alabama, Hurts talked to Bleacher Report about how even though he was benched, the opportunity to grow as a person and football player was there,”Taking pride in everything. … It just took another step in growth. An appreciation for the game and appreciating every moment…is very important to me.” Jalen Hurts, as said is a QB first and foremost, however, I have no doubt that when the opportunity presents itself, he will do whatever he has to do to help the Philadelphia Eagles win ball games. When asked where he ranked himself as a quarterback in this draft class, Hurts said to Steve Mariucci of the NFL Network, “I’m one of a kind, being able to use my athleticism in the pocket when needed, it’s like the It-Factor, ” he said. That is exactly what Hurts brings, in reference to confidence; the it factor. With his dynamic athleticism and variety of ways he can be used as a sort of chess piece on offense, when not playing QB and even when playing QB, he is always a threat to run.
Many people have said, why not sign a backup or draft a QB later in the draft (I understand), but having a talented QB that you can get into your system, have him most likely cheaper (and more talented) than any option on the open market, was too much to pass up. Hurts gives the Eagles a young quarterback at 21 years old, that they can mold. This is not a Clayton Thorson, pick where he’s this guy who doesn’t have the capabilities of being a backup, this is the type of player where 1) he gives you versatility and different threats depending on where you line him up on offense and 2) this player is a winner and most importantly, he’s been in this situation before and arose from it and succeeded.
As repeated in this article, Jalen Hurts is a quarterback. Yes, he can be used in different ways and has the ability to do so, but make no mistake about it, this pick was about the Philadelphia Eagles having coverage, think of it in terms of you having a brand new tire on your car and you run over a nail and get it plugged. Now, that plug can last you about 7-10 years but you know that its there. You aren’t gonna act like you don’t see it and act as if its not a reality, you’re going to have a spare tire. And not just any spare, like a donut tire. You’d want to ensure that your car is supported and is secure in all aspects because if that tire goes out, then the entire vehicle will go down. Your family could be in that car, your kids, wife, or even mom. You want to ensure that you have coverage and are safe. That is the exact same logic behind the Philadelphia Eagles taking Jalen Hurts in the second round.
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