The Philadelphia Eagles aren’t precisely a simple workforce to forecast in terms of the quarterback place. Infamously declaring in 2020 their want to be a “quarterback manufacturing facility,” they have been recognized to stockpile — and flip — their signal-callers extra than simply about any aggressive workforce within the NFL. It is one factor to cycle via QBs out of dysfunction, nevertheless it’s one other to take action if you’re within the thick of playoff races or nonetheless just some years faraway from a Tremendous Bowl title. That is who they’re. That is what they do. However after Friday’s large commerce with the Dolphins, by which they moved again from No. 6 to No. 12 within the first spherical of April’s draft, their plans are clearer than they have been for some time: Jalen Hurts is their QB for 2021, and possibly for good.
Simply two months in the past, this could’ve sounded untimely, if not downright foolish. In hiring former Colts offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni as their new head coach, in any case, the Eagles all however imported a junior model of Frank Reich, who in flip was lengthy considered as Carson Wentz’s favourite mentor. We’re sorry for no matter occurred in 2020, they mainly mentioned to their embattled QB, however this is a present to clean issues over. If ever a rent appeared like reassurance that Wentz can be again for a sixth season in Philly, that was it.
Seems Wentz did not simply need a recent employees. He wished a recent begin. And he acquired it, together with Reich himself. However not even his transfer to the Colts ensured the Eagles would flip to Hurts, who changed Wentz for the ultimate 4 video games of 2020. In actual fact, if something, it paved a path to a different reset on the place. It isn’t typically, bear in mind, you personal a decide simply exterior the highest 5, and with 5 QBs set to come back off the board early in within the draft, the Eagles assuredly thought of prioritizing a QB with their prime choice. Normal supervisor Howie Roseman urged as a lot this month, showing genuinely stunned when reporters provided that an early QB decide would possibly disappoint Hurts, then insisting his solely focus was on making the Eagles higher, particularly at premium positions.
Then got here the Dolphins commerce. Whereas a shock follow-up transfer cannot be dominated out (Roseman has an timeless penchant for dealing), you merely do not commerce again from No. 6 to No. 12 if you happen to’re severe about drafting a QB. NFL Community reported, then retracted, that Philly first tried to maneuver as much as No. 3 for BYU QB Zach Wilson, however Wilson has lengthy been anticipated to be passed by then anyway. Now? Utilizing all their added picks to amass a veteran like Deshaun Watson (extremely unlikely amid his pending authorized state of affairs) or Russell Wilson (additionally unlikely, contemplating he’d be coming to a far inferior roster) wouldn’t jibe with proprietor Jeffrey Lurie’s post-season imaginative and prescient of a reputable long-term rebuild.
And so the result’s apparent: It is Hurts’ job — and workforce — to lose.
But when they tried to commerce up for Zach Wilson, they do not imagine in Hurts!
Firstly, let’s not faux the Eagles ought to be 100% offered on Hurts, who was bypassed 52 occasions earlier than being drafted in 2020. The younger gun confirmed quite a bit in his 4 begins — primarily poise and mobility — but in addition struggled with accuracy and ball safety. He is as confirmed as Drew Lock was getting into 2020 with the Broncos. So it is not precisely honest to recommend that the Eagles toying with a transfer up for Wilson (or Fields or Lance or Jones, for that matter) means they’re completely determined, a method or one other, on Hurts’ potential. It is doable to imagine in a younger QB and nonetheless imagine you are able to do higher, particularly if mentioned younger QB is not already deemed a premium funding (like Wentz, who price the Eagles a giant transfer up within the draft, a No. 2 choice and a $128 million extension).
Now, if Hurts is visibly out of his league in 2021, the Eagles could have the firepower to do absolutely anything they please. With not less than two and presumably three first-rounders relying on whether or not Wentz meets commerce circumstances in Indianapolis, they will conceivably have entry to most prime QB prospects or veteran commerce candidates. However the early learn right here is that Hurts has probability of not solely getting into 2021 as QB1 however retaining the job for the foreseeable future.
The Eagles have proven earlier than, for higher or worse, they are not afraid of including to the QB room even when it already appears set. Suppose 2009, once they signed Michael Vick regardless of Kevin Kolb already lining up as Donovan McNabb’s successor. (They ended up buying and selling each McNabb and Kolb in successive offseasons). Suppose 2016, once they moved as much as draft Wentz regardless of simply extending Sam Bradford and paying up for Chase Daniel as a backup. (They ended up buying and selling Bradford earlier than Week 1, then signing Nick Foles to switch Daniel the next yr). Suppose 2020, once they spent a second-rounder on Hurts only a yr after extending Wentz.
However the whole lot about this 2021 transition suggests Hurts has a reputable maintain on the close to future. There was Lurie’s overt dedication to restarting, emphasised by his odd remarks about coach Doug Pederson not deserving to be fired however fairly not eager to rebuild after a down yr. There was the almost-unprecedented dedication to youth on the brand new employees, which has first-time and 30-something coaches up and down the board. (Amongst them: New QBs coach Brian Johnson, a Hurts household good friend). There was the addition of latest backup Joe Flacco, who at 36 is unquestionably not on the town to problem for the job as a lot as sharpen Hurts’ grip on it.
Wanting additional down the street, it is exhausting to ascertain Hurts fully fumbling away the chance, too. He is nonetheless acquired heaps to construct on, little question, and the Eagles are coming off a 4-11-1 season for a cause: They’ve lacked expertise at key positions. However couple Hurts with a inexperienced and keen employees, a full offseason, a more healthy offensive line and a top-15 decide, and it is exhausting to ascertain a state of affairs the place he would not not less than hold Philly within the combine within the NFC East. In that state of affairs, Roseman and Co. shall be hard-pressed to not seize the chance of utilizing all these 2022 picks and constructing round such a younger QB (Hurts will solely be 23 in September) whereas he is on his rookie cope with some beginning expertise.
The Eagles have shocked us at QB earlier than. They do it on a regular basis. However if you happen to’re putting bets now, you recognize the place they belong.