Philadelphia Eagles: Foles’ injury vindicates Christian Hackenberg signing

(Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
(Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images) /

With Nick Foles unlikely to appear in another preseason game, the Philadelphia Eagles’ unpopular decision to sign Christian Hackenberg now looks prophetic.

To say the Philadelphia Eagles‘ decision to sign former Nittany Lions’ quarterback Christian Hackenberg last week was unpopular would be an understatement.

Fans online were livid.

While on the surface, it seemed like a relatively minor decision, similar to Howie Roseman‘s decision to bring local product Joe Callahan into camp earlier this summer, Hackenberg very well may be the least popular quarterback in the entire NFL.

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And with good reason.

Once considered a golden boy, face-of-a-franchise-type quarterback in his first season at Penn State Univerity under then-head coach Bill O’Brien, Hackenberg quickly became one of college football’s most highly debated players after regressing considerably over his final two seasons in Happy Valley.

On one hand, Hack had everything any head coach could ever ask for, prototypical size, good athleticism, and an absolute cannon for an arm, but at the same time, his inconsistency, indecisiveness, and lack of vision also made him one of the least accurate, and most sacked players in all of college football.

But still, after three years playing behind an absolutely horrendous Nittany Lions’ offensive line, Hackenberg took his talents to the NFL, and once again made fans, coaches, and scouts the world over wonder exactly what kind of quarterback he would be at the games highest level.

Would he be able to recapture his freshman form that set the college football world on fire with professional coaching and NFL weapons, or would some unfortunate team be stuck with a permanent project incapable of processing the game at the speed needed to succeed on Sundays?

For the very exorbitant price of a second round pick, the New York Jets committed themselves to finding that out.

Needless to say, it did not go well.

Fast forward two years into the future and the Jets have selected Sam Darnold third overall in yet another roll of the dice to find a franchise quarterback, and Christian Hackenberg has been released from the Oakland Raiders less than three weeks after the team acquired him for a conditional seventh-round pick.

A pick that surely won’t convey now.

So needless to say, the decision to bring in Hackenberg left many fans scratching their heads.

Sure, starting quarterback Carson Wentz is still recovering from a December ACL tear that could keep him off the field for the start of the 2018 NFL season, but with Nick Foles and Nate Sudfeld firmly entrenched as QBs two and three, why did Philly need to waste a roster spot on a certified bust like Hackenberg?

The Eagles’ second preseason game all but vindicated that decision.

After suffering a very scary shoulder injury that very well could have thrown the team’s forthcoming season into question, it’s pretty safe to say neither Foles or Wentz will be appearing in another glorified exhibition game over the month of August. While gaining reps with the team’s potential starters is important, as the entire first-team offense looked sluggish in Week 2, at this point remaining healthy has to take a priority.

But someone still has to throw the team’s wide receivers the ball.

Though the preseason is important for establishing chemistry in-game, it’s also invaluable for evaluating the talent of players on the bottom of the roster. Without the preseason, it’s very possible that Corey Clement wouldn’t have made the Eagles roster as their fifth-string running back. Had he not had an opportunity to showcase his talents, the Eagles may not have been able to thrive when Darren Sproles went down with a season-ending ACL-injury in Week 3.

Without those four catches for 100 yards, would the Eagles have won their first-ever Super Bowl?

Even if Sudfeld will one day return to his role as the team’s third-string quarterback, presumably running the scout team, as of right now he’s the team’s de facto starter, and the Eagles are going to need players like Callahan and yes, even Hackenberg around to not only soak up minutes in the second half of games but also to smoothly run practice.

Next. 3 reasons Nate Sudfeld starting in Week 1 isn’t so crazy to consider. dark

So, with two more games for fringe players like Shelton Gibson, Greg Ward, and Josh Adams (if he ever actually sees the field) to very seriously fight for their NFL lives, adding a player like Christian Hackenberg to the Philadelphia Eagles’ roster could be invaluable, even if his stint in the City of Brotherly Love only lasts a few weeks.