Philadelphia Eagles: Drafting Jalen Hurts makes sense, at the right price

(Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)
(Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images) /

With a deceptive need at backup quarterback – and general explosiveness – the Philadelphia Eagles should consider drafting Jalen Hurts – at the right price.

Before you ask, yes, you read that headline right: The Philadelphia Eagles should strongly consider drafting Alabama-turned-Oklahoma Heisman hopeful Jalen Hurts.

Yes, I know the team already has Carson Wentz signed to a massive four-year, $128 million extension, and yes, I know there’s a chance Lincoln Riley‘s latest success story could wind up elevating his stock all the way into the first round with continued development and a strong pre-draft process, but what if he doesn’t?

What if scouts hold fast that the Heisman frontrunner isn’t a prototypical NFL signal-caller and he’s still on the board in the second, third, or even fourth round? That, my friends, is where Howie Roseman could find some serious value.

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A four-star recruit out of Channelview, Texas, Hurts became the first ‘running’ quarterback to, well, run Nick Saban‘s Crimson Tide offince, and despite lacking elite arm talent, the 6-foot-2, 219-pound passer played a pivotal part in Alabama’s three straight appearances in the College Football National Championship.

Granted, Hurts was eventually benched for potential first overall selection Tua Tagovailoa, but despite some rumblings from his father, the then-sophomore decided to hold true to his commitment and remain with the Alabama football program as a reserve for the 2018 season.

One could make the argument that the Tide wouldn’t have made it to a third title bout against the Clemson Tigers in January of this calendar year if it wasn’t for the dynamic relief performance of Hurts against Georgia in the SEC Championship game.

This single game, a game where Hurts didn’t even throw for 100 yards, reinserted the on-again, off-again quarterback in the national conversation, and helped the run-first dual-threat land the most coveted role in college football: Quarterback for the Oklahoma Sooners.

Now healing the hottest offense in the country, Hurts is averaging a little over 300 passing yards a game and could surpassing his career-high (2,780) by mid-season. But is this lone year of success enough to make some team believe Hurts is a franchise quarterback?

Maybe, but probably not.

Like him or not, Hurts is the hardest player to project into the NFL level, because we’ve seldom had a quarterback with his exact skill set and level of success.

For every scout who sees the second (or third) coming of Baker Mayfield or Kyler Murray, there’s another who believes that Hurts may have a betetr career if he pulls a Julian Edelman (or less successfully, Terrell Pryor) and switches positions at the next level – especially if he can run a sub 4.5 40 yard dash.

However, what if Hurts is neither? What is Hurts is actually the best possible version of New Orleans Saints backup quarterback Taysom Hill?

Like Hill, Hurts has a cannon for an arm, but may never develop the consistency needed to become a full-time NFL quarterback. Hurts has also shown a knack for making plays as a rusher, amassing 2,475 yards and 30 touchdowns on 438 carries this far in his career – with plenty more to come over the next few months.

Really, the only talent Hurts hasn’t shown that Hill has made his name on is an ability to catch the ball as a receiver, as the fourth-year senior has only caught four passes for 36 yards over his college career – but hey, that’s a bonus, not a necessity for a backup quarterback.

Despite a disparity in talent, the Philadelphia Eagles have clearly taken an interest in keeping a quarterback-turned-offensive-weapon on their roster, as the team has employed the like Greg Ward, Braxton Miller, and Greg Ward on their practice squad over the past three seasons, but none of these players possess Hurts gifts as a passer, or general ability to impact a game.

The Eagles have also shown a desire to find a reliable quarterback to back up Wentz on a rookie deal, as evidenced by the (now horrible) decision to select Clayton Thorson 167th overall in 2019. Had Thorson worked out, the Eagles may have been set for the next four years, but his general inability to, ya know, play quarterback required the front office to coax a 40-year-old Josh McCown out of retirement for the 2019 season – even if he gets Fridays off to coach his son’s football team (yes, seriously).

Hurts again could fill this role, and fill it better than any player the Birds have had over Doug Pederson‘s tenure with the team not named Nick Foles.

Really, the only negative of drafting Hurts with a mid-round pick would be the Oklahoma fans demanding that the team start their potential Heisman winner every time Wentz falters, but really, that’s a small price to pay for everything Hurts brings to the table.

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While he may never develop into a franchise quarterback, and conversely may not be available in the mid-rounds of the 2019 NFL Draft, Jalen Hurts could provide fantastic value as a backup quarterback/change-of-pace quarterback/moveable chess piece for the Philadelphia Eagles offense at the right price- that is, if the team is willing to get creative.