In what was the most surprising selection of day two of the NFL Draft, the Philadelphia Eagles picked up Oklahoma QB Jalen Hurts with the 53rd overall pick.
The initial reaction by fans everywhere was, “why?”
It’s still unclear why the Eagles went with Hurts, but there are are few potential reasonings behind it:
1. To have Hurts backup an injury-prone Carson Wentz.
Carson Wentz is about to enter his fifth NFL season; he’s only played all 16 games in two of them. Over the past three seasons, Wentz has dealt with a multitude of injuries including a major ACL tear in 2017, which ended a potential MVP season. This past year, Wentz went down early in his playoff debut with a concussion keeping him out for the remainder of the game.
When Wentz went down, the Eagles were stuck with 16-year veteran Josh McCown, who retired right after that game. Entering the 2020 season, Nate Sudfeld, who has only thrown 25 passes since he was drafted in the sixth round of the 2016 Draft, was slated to be Wentz’s backup.
The Eagles possibly drafted Hurts so they could have a healthy backup. With injury concerns surrounding Wentz, there could be serious issues if Wentz goes down again. Hurts never missed a college game due to injury.
2. For Hurts to take over for Wentz.
Are the Eagles really that unhappy about Wentz’s injury history that they would look to cut ties with him down the road?
In June 2019, the Eagles extended Wentz to a 4yr/$128M contract with $107M being guaranteed. Philadelphia can opt out of the deal after the 2021 season, but it would create $24.5M in dead cap.
Could 2021 be the year for Wentz? If he can stay fully healthy and perform at the elite level like the Eagles expected him to, his job security should be in no question. But, if Wentz struggles or suffers another injury, the Eagles will have no issues cutting Wentz to give Hurts full reign after a season to learn the system.
3. For Hurts to play a “Taysom Hill” type role.
Here’s the idea everyone hates: Hurts joining the Eagles to play in a complex role like former BYU QB Taysom Hill who has for the New Orleans Saints’ in the past.
There are not many fans who have loved this comparison so far. Truly, the reason some are saying the comparison is outlandish is due to the fact that Hill went undrafted and Hurts went 53rd overall. But, I don’t think this is that valid of an argument.
Hill was an extremely valuable asset for the Saints a season ago. He was viewed around the league as a weapon that most teams couldn’t match. With Doug Pederson as head coach, there is a possibility that he wants someone who could compare to the type of player Hill is. There were only two players who could somewhat compare to Hill: Hurts and Lynn Bowden Jr. Pederson went with the player who has a longer track record throwing the ball.