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Philadelphia Eagles need to take a quarterback in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft

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Their top pick should be the top priority.

Glenn Andrews-USA TODAY Sports

It’s an election year, and with it usually comes a memorable catch phrase. From "read my lips, no new taxes" to "binders full of women", there’s always a memorable one-liner or two. Wendy’s is to this day still using "where’s the beef", reminding many of when Walter Mondale asked Gary Hart that same question. One that particularly comes to mind is a simple but highly effective line that James Carville had hanging in Bill Clinton’s headquarters in 1992:

The economy, stupid.

Three simple words that helped focus the campaign strategy that ultimately won. The simplicity of the statement is ubiquitous, and in this football offseason, it can easily be modified to focus a strategy for a team:

The quarterback, stupid.

The NFL draft is just a few weeks away, and as we wait for it, it seems that focus is getting lost. Eagles fans are clamoring for Ezekiel Elliott, a very good player at a non-premium position. Or they’re getting excited about drafting one of the first round offensive linemen who are not Laremy Tunsil such as Ronnie Stanley. Myles Jack could be an exciting option, or perhaps Jalen Ramsey or Vernon Hargreaves. They may turn out to be good players, maybe even great ones. But none of them solve the biggest problem the Eagles have: that they do not have a quarterback. And in the NFL, if don’t have a QB, you are never going to be a consistent contender. It’s the quarterback, stupid.

Sam Bradford is not the answer and never was, the two-year contract that is essentially a one-year deal he signed shows that the team has no belief in him long term. Chase Daniel is the most expensive backup QB in the league, but nothing more than a backup or glorified seat warmer. We know the Eagles are going to take a QB at some point. The Eagles need to find a long-term solution at quarterback and can't wait around any longer.

We never know what the future holds, but this is most likely the best chance they will have to draft a QB for at least the next two years. 2016 is only the fifth time since Jeffrey Lurie purchased the Eagles that they have drafted in the top 10, and they didn’t even "earn it on merit" this year, they had to trade up to get there. The chances the Eagles are in an even better position to draft a QB in 2017 is slim. Teams that draft top five are almost always bereft of talent, and the Eagles while far from a top talented team, they are simply too talented and play in too easy of a division to expect to be so bad as to get a top pick in 2017. As awful as the Eagles were in 2015, they finished with the 13th overall pick. If they improve this season, and the moves in free agency should improve the team, they could be drafting in the 20s and be completely out of the picture at QB.

This year, though, they will likely be in a position to draft one. They might even have first choice of them. There’s no "generational talent" at QB this year,  but even if there was the Eagles aren’t currently in a position to get one if and might not be able to move up to get him. And that’s okay. Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson weren’t considered generational players either, while Alex Smith, Tim Couch, and Sam Bradford were. Nobody knows anything about quarterbacks. Which is exactly why the Eagles should draft one early this year, whether it be Carson Wentz, Jared Goff, or even Paxton Lynch.

Jeffrey Lurie said he does not want to be risk averse, and passing on a QB because he’s not the once-every-ten-years-can't-miss-prospect would be the definition of being risk averse. Drafting a non-QB, a player who can’t carry a team to Super Bowl contention almost singlehandedly, would be the most sheltered move the Eagles could make. Drafting a non-QB and then entering the 2017 offseason once again with a draft pick in the teens and having to make a decision on Sam Bradford would mean the 2016 season was a complete waste of time. It would be the safest move a team that hasn’t won a playoff game in seven years could make. An offensive lineman is certainly a draft need for both the short and long term, as is running back, as is another cornerback, as is another pass rusher. But none of those trump the need for a quarterback.

And if the QB is a bust… they should be in pretty good position to draft another one in a few years.