While the Philadelphia Eagles spent a fifth-round pick on Tanner McKee in the 2023 NFL Draft, they deferred to Ian Book as the veteran in the room.
Book got the initial QB3 spot on the depth chart. Book got the first choice at jersey number. Book got the first practice reps over McKee.
But McKee methodically took Book’s job in the preseason, and now he’s even taken Book’s jersey number.
Tanner McKee Jersey Number Change
McKee was rocking No. 10 in the preseason, which is the number we had seen Gardner Minshew wear for his two seasons with the Eagles.
It wasn’t the No. 18 he wore at Stanford, because that jersey number belongs to Britain Covey in Philly, and apparently it’s not one McKee wanted.
Not even one week after Ian Book was waived, McKee has stolen the No. 19 that Book was wearing in the preseason.
McKee hasn’t spoken yet about why the change, or whether the number 19 is meaningful to him. So in that absence, I’m going to make up a fun narrative: Tanner McKee is a stone-cold killer and he’s doing the not-an-actual-killer version of taking a piece of his victim as a trophy.
McKee took a backup QB role that belonged to Gardner Minshew, he took Minshew’s number. McKee passed Book on the depth chart, he stole his jersey number. Next up? Passing Marcus Mariota, and maybe wearing his cleats or something. At that point, Jalen Hurts better hold on tight to his wardrobe (and starting job).
Okay, maybe McKee isn’t going to suddenly start threatening Hurts for his job or uniform. Maybe this isn’t a giant middle finger to Ian Book. But no matter the case, I’m pretty excited to have McKee on the roster.
Pro Football Focus gave him a passing grade of 71.8 in the preseason, which ranked 36th among the 103 quarterbacks they graded. He didn’t throw a single interception in his 86 dropbacks, and he showed a little mobility with rushes of 5 and 7 yards.
At just 23 years old, there’s plenty of time and space for McKee to develop into a long-term answer as the QB2 in Philadelphia behind Jalen Hurts. Just don’t expect him switching his jersey to No. 1 any time soon.
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