Philadelphia Eagles: Drafting Thorson ahead of Minshew is the worst

(Photo by Harry Aaron/Getty Images)
(Photo by Harry Aaron/Getty Images) /

While hindsight is always 20/20, drafting Clayton Thorson over Gardner Minshew will definitively go down as the worst mistake in Philadelphia Eagles’ history.

Alright, I’m just going to go right out and say it: the Philadelphia Eagles made a grave error drafting Clayton Thorson in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL Draft.

Granted, that’s not exactly a hot take at this point, as Thorson looked horrible over the summer and couldn’t even make the team’s 53 man roster over a 40-year-old retiree, but three games into the 2019 season, the move somehow looks a whole lot worse.

And no, it’s not because Thorson signed onto the Dallas Cowboys practice squad after clearing waivers.

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You see, Thorson was the ninth quarterback taken in the draft (167th overall), but 11 picks later, the tenth quarterback came off the board, and his name is Gardner Minshew II.

That’s right, Gardner ‘Mustache’ Minshew II, the surprise superstar of the Jacksonville Jaguars who Nick Foles’d Nick Foles after the ex-Eagle broke his collar-bone, and has become the first rookie in Jaguars history to pass for at least 600 yards through three weeks of football (as per CBS’s Patrik Walker.

And talk about charisma.

Despite having Tom Brady-esque credentials coming out of college – and really anytime you write about Minshew you have to mention his fellow sixth-round draftee – Minshew has looked cool, calm, and confident in the pocket and has dropped some dimes to an average-at-best receiving corp highlighted by players like DJ Chark, Chris Conley, and DeDe Westbrook.

But really, should we be surprised?

After bouncing around the less prestigious segments of college football, Minshew joined the Washington State Cougars as a graduate transfer and subsequently led the nation in passing as the most prolific single-season passer in Pac-12 history – just like head coach Mike Leach predicted when he recruited the 22-year-old senior to run his air raid offense.

Not too bad for a player who tried to break his hand to get a medical redshirt.

Now sure, virtually no one – not even the Jags – saw Minshew’s sudden rise to stardom coming, as he fell to the sixth round due to a perceived lack of an elite arm strength and for being a one-year wonder product of a pass-happy system, but through three games – and I stress it’s only been three games – Mustache Mania is in full effect for fans in Jacksonville, fans of football in general, and hopefully ‘The Good Place’s’ Jason Mendoza, who’s love affair with ex-Jags quarterback Blake Bortles came to an abrupt end when he signed with the Los Angeles Rams in free agency.

And as for Thorson? At this point, he’d be lucky to even make an NFL team, let alone start a game.

So, all kidding aside, what can we – and Howie Roseman – learn from this experience? Well, for one, maybe don’t draft a not-so-prolific Northwestern quarterback with no elite traits.

That one seems pretty obvious to be honest.

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But really, it’s entirely possible that had the Philadelphia Eagles selected Gardner Minshew over Clayton Thorson we very well may be in the same situation, because the team already has their franchise quarterback in Carson Wentz. While it would have been fun to have a scrappy, mustachioed second-stringer on the bench inside of Josh McCown, we should all be content to see the unlikely underdogs rise up the ranks to overnight NFL folk hero if for no other reason that it may drive Nick Foles back to Philadelphia – now that would be a twist.