Philadelphia Eagles: The case for and against Lincoln Riley

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Philadelphia Eagles
Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports /

The case for Lincoln Riley to the Philadelphia Eagles.

‘Lincoln Riley is an offensive guru.’

Since taking over the head coaching job at Oklahoma from Bob Stoops in 2017, Riley’s teams have won 84.9 percent of their games, made it to the College Football Playoffs three times, and had three players finish in the top-3 in Heisman Trophy Voting.

But more than that, Riley is a quarterback guru.

Riley made Baker Mayfield – a former walk-on Texas Tech transfer – into a star, Kyler Murray – an MLB first-round pick and Texas A&M transfer – into a star, and even the Philadelphia Eagles’ own Jalen Hurts into a star after being benched multiple times for eventual sixth overall pick Tua Tagovailoa at Alabama.

Riley’s innovative air-raid style has revolutionized the way college football teams play offense, and his ability to craft his scheme to the strengths of his players has turned three marginal NFL prospects into NFL starts, all the while keeping his team the unquestioned force atop the Big 12. He crafts plays with zone and man-beating routes, knows how to scheme wide receivers open with creative concepts, and even likes to get running backs involved in a way that would make Doug Pederson blush.

There’s a very real case to be made that the Eagles wouldn’t have drafted Hurts as high as they did if it wasn’t for Riley, who reportedly spoke glowingly to his good friend Howie Roseman during the pre-draft process.

Yup, you read that correctly. Riley and Roseman are friends, and according to Joe Giglio, the former has been an instrumental voice in the Eagles’ draft room in the decisions to pass on Orlando Brown (bad call), gave insight into Jalen Reagor from his time on the recruiting trail, and clearly spoke highly enough about Hurts to get him higher on the team’s draft board than Jeremy Chin and J.K. Dobbins.

If Riley can make 6-foot-1, 205 pound Spencer Rattler into a potential top-5 quarterback, imagine what he could do with Carson Wentz, or even Hurts – in a move that would mark the first time he’s had the same quarterback under center for more than one season of his head coaching career.

In Riley, the Philadelphia Eagles would be betting on youth, innovation, and excitement over the other NFL retreads on the market, all the while guaranteeing themselves an explosive offense the likes of which we haven’t seen around these parts for a few years now. Pair him up with a veteran DC with head coaching experiences like Wade Phillips, Romeo Crennel, Raheem Morris, or even Matt Patricia (not an actual list), and boom, the Eagles suddenly look like a contender once more with one of the brightest futures in the entire league all the while fixing their quarterback issues and giving Jeffrey Lurie the top-5 offense he’s been after for some time.