National Football League

Hurts to be 2nd

April 28

It was the selection that sent shockwaves through the Philadelphia Eagles fanbase.

With the 53rd pick in the 2020 NFL draft, the Philadelphia Eagles selected Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts.

Hurts transferred from Alabama to Oklahoma for his senior season after losing his starting job to Tua Tagovailoa, and last season, Hurts recorded 3,851 passing yards and 32 passing touchdowns to go along with 1,298 rushing yards and 20 rushing touchdowns. He finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting behind LSU's Joe Burrow.

In fact, Jalen Hurts was so good during his college career, that Skip Bayless – a life-long Dallas Cowboys and Oklahoma Sooners fan – can't believe he'll have to support Hurts in an Eagles uniform.

"I have I told you from the start, I love Jalen Hurts. I know he had his struggles at Alabama but if you look at his overall record at Alabama and Oklahoma, he was 38-4. He played in as many big games as probably any quarterback who ever game out of college football. I wanted him to go somewhere to say where he's got a shot."

Hurts' numbers are certainly worthy of the 33rd pick, but the question on everyone's mind is, how does this move make sense for Philadelphia? The Eagles have banked their future on current starting quarterback Carson Wentz, who is only 27 years old and received a $128 million extension in the summer of 2019.

In his four professional seasons, Wentz has become one of the most highly-regarded quarterback talents in the NFL.

In 2017, Wentz's second season, he led the Eagles to an 11–2 record, finished second in the league in touchdown passes despite missing three games (33), and was the favorite to win MVP until he went down with a torn ACL in Week 14.

The Eagles would go on to win Super Bowl LII that season behind backup QB Nick Foles, who was also named Super Bowl MVP.

Wentz would reclaim his starting role in 2018, but he'd only play in 11 games, as he continued to recover from ACL surgery and suffered a back injury towards the end of the season.

But in 2019, he was back to form, starting all 16 regular season games. He recorded 4,039 passing yards and racked up 27 touchdowns.

And he accomplished those numbers with not a lot of firepower on the outside.

So...what gives Philly? Why draft Hurts?

Some believe the answer to be simple: Hurts will be the backup just in case Wentz's injury history becomes a thing of the present.

NFL Network's Kyle Brandt believes Hurts to be the young, skilled safety net that the Eagles need.

"Carson Wentz has missed or been knocked out of six-straight playoff games – that is three-straight years their quarterback has been hurt. So what do you do? You draft a guy that is literally named Hurts."

According to Eagles head coach Doug Pederson, Hurts' athleticism will make him a playmaker in Philadelphia's system a la Taysom Hill in New Orleans.

Over the past two seasons, Hill has served in a backup role to Drew Brees. And though he hasn't seen the field much as a passer, Hill has rushed for 352 yards and 3 touchdowns on 64 rushing attempts.

Mel Kiper is a fan of Jalen Hurts being a similar gadget player in the Eagles' offense.

"It made perfect sense. Think about a creative guy like Doug Pederson ... [Hurts] can do so many things. I think it's a heck of a move on all levels for the Philadelphia Eagles." 

But not all are sold on the idea of Hurts in Philly, and some have gone as far as to say the move is disrespectful to Wentz, considering his injury history with the organization and the fact that he's had to share the spotlight with Nick Foles.

Shannon Sharpe believes the Eagles went against convention drafting a backup quarterback so high while their franchise quarterback has barely entered his prime.

"It doesn't make sense to me – I believe they could have gone out and gotten a player that could have helped them this year, not in the future. There are better needs, what they needed as team, than a backup quarterback."

Although Wentz had a solid 2019 campaign individually and the Eagles won the NFC East, Philly finished at 9-7 and were knocked out of the playoffs in the first round.

Max Kellerman believes that with the Eagles drafting Hurts instead of acquiring more offensive weapons, Wentz should ask for a trade.

"If I am Carson Wentz, and if I believe in myself, I am going to demand a trade right now. 'You draft my replacement? You said this whole draft was about getting me help, and you won't get me help because you want that second round pick so bad to go get the guy who is going to replace me?'"

Opinion is across the board on this one.

However, according to Hurts, there is no tension between him and Wentz. In fact, Philly's Pro Bowl QB has already reached out to Hurts to welcome him "with open arms."

We can confirm that Wentz was okay with the selection.

How?

Twitter, of course.


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