According to NFL insider Chris Mortenson, the Eagles personnel department has been instructed to build around Jalen Hurts this offseason to avoid another quarterback controversy next season.
Speaking on ESPN, Mortenson states, “Yes, Jalen Hurts is the guy. Jeffrey Lurie, the owner of the Eagles, has basically sent the message to his personnel department and his general manager Howie Roseman that he wants to do everything he can to help Jalen Hurts be successful and not bring in somebody to compete for the job. Now they have a new head coach in Nick Sirianni, he understands what the owner wants, the owner gets.”
It’s never ideal when we hear reports like this. Owner meddling in football operations typically leads to more dysfunction, as has been the case here in Philly. In the years since Super Bowl 52, Lurie has become more involved in football operations and it’s obviously had a negative effect on the franchise. The team’s failed to win 10 regular season games since the Super Bowl year, and they only have one playoff victory to their name.
You’d think after three years of lack luster production on the field, Lurie would step aside and just let his people run the show. You know, allow them to do what you hired them to do.
This kind of declaration from Lurie — if it’s accurate — proves he clearly still wants control when it comes to football operations. And after the quarterback situation the team dealt with last year, it’s understandable that Lurie would want some level of stability at that position. But this situation is much different than the one the team just went through with Carson Wentz, for a multitude of reasons.
It’s imperative that the fan base and the organization recognizes why this situation differs so greatly.
Jalen Hurts is not Carson Wentz
First and foremost, it’s important to understand that Carson Wentz and Jalen Hurts have completely different mental makeups.
Wentz was nurtured as “The Man” ever since his collegiate days at North Dakota State. And in his first few seasons in Philly, that kind of treatment followed him. I go more in depth into this idea here.
Hurts, on the other hand, has never been handed anything in his playing days. Part of that is because he never had the pure physical ability of someone like Wentz, but in the long run, that’s not always necessarily a bad thing.
This type of treatment has molded Hurts into the man he is today — someone who’s never shied away from competition and is never satisfied with his production. So, drafting another quarterback with the No. 6 overall selection in the upcoming draft won’t effect Hurts the way drafting Hurts effected Wentz.
All Hurts has done throughout his playing career is fight for respect and playing time. He was benched at Alabama for Tua, and when he was given another opportunity the following season, he led the team to a comeback victory over Georgia in the SEC Championship game. The following season he transferred to Oklahoma and finished the year as a Heisman finalist.
You’re not in a position to draft a franchise quarterback very often
At No. 6, the Eagles may be in a position to draft a franchise caliber quarterback without making any kind of trades. Something that is very rare for a team like the Eagles, who have the sixth highest winning percentage in the NFL since 2000.
Justin Fields and Trey Lance will almost certainly be in play at 6, and there’s a possibility that Zach Wilson could be there as well. All of them are better prospects than Hurts was last year, it’s not even a discussion.
Not to mention, Hurts only started four games last season. It’s impossible to know with any level of certainty that he’s going to be a franchise quarterback. I love his intangibles and his athleticism, but his accuracy and arm strength just aren’t there yet. Of course, those mechanics can be developed, and as I mentioned earlier, Hurts is a workaholic, but that development is not a guarantee.
I’ve seen some fans and pundits say something along the lines of, “Well, if Hurts isn’t the guy the team will still have a bad record next year and they’ll be in a position to draft another quarterback.” That’s not necessarily true, and looking ahead to next year’s quarterback class, even having the No. 6 overall pick won’t guarantee you’ll be in a position to snag one of the premiere QBs.
Oklahoma’s Spencer Rattler and North Carolina’s Sam Howell are probably the top QB prospects heading into next year’s draft, but they’re both far from a sure thing.
With the array of solid quarterback prospects available this year, it gives the Eagles the unique opportunity to take a potential franchise quarterback without having to actually trade up and give up massive draft capital. Something the team will need as they continue their rebuild the next few seasons.
It’s completely fair to want stability at the quarterback position, that goes without saying. And I understand why drafting a quarterback at 6 gives the impression that this team isn’t stable there, especially after the quarterback circus we all endured last year with Wentz and Hurts.
But more importantly, we have to understand that the position isn’t exactly stable with Hurts running the show either. Just because you crown someone as the future of the quarterback position doesn’t mean the position is stable at all. Remember that Carson Wentz guy? He was postured as the franchise quarterback and failed to live up to those expectations. And yet here we are, looking to immediately label another quarterback as the savior of the franchise.
The quarterback position is far and away the most important position on any NFL team, and until you are 100% certain you have your guy, you should never stop looking.
Hurts won’t be a distraction with another quarterback in the room that rivals him. All it’s going to do is push him to be a better quarterback, which in turn will help the new quarterback develop as well. There’s a clear difference between competition and controversy at the quarterback position — one is good and one is bad.
Drafting another quarterback this year won’t cause a controversy, it’ll cause a healthy competition between two young promising gun slingers. That sounds like a win in my book.