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Weapon X Mailbag: What is Jalen Hurts’ ceiling?

Plus: what’s the greatest loss in Eagles history?

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

No medals for valor,” but Sunday was a fun one. Let’s get to the questions.

@DomNuggaNong: Where do you see Jalen Hurts’ ceiling? @BenjaminSolak mentioned Kyler Murray but I see a little more in him because of intangibles (j.a.r).

Okay, we’re talking ceiling here. This isn’t what he’s absolutely going to be. This isn’t my definitive prediction. I need to preface that before some jabroni tries to pull some @OldTakesExposed BS on me. I won’t have it. Carson Wentz’s ceiling felt like Aaron Rodgers at one point. Things can go awry.

I said on From the Bleachers on BGN Radio that there’s a 97th-percentile outcome where he’s basically Russell Wilson, right? The narrative is there at least. College transfers who didn’t go in the first round and were thrust into starting roles quicker than expected. Seattle had just given Matt Flynn over $20 million the same offseason they drafted Wilson, but Russ just flat-out beat him for the job and the franchise has never looked back since.

Wilson is the best quarterback I’ve ever seen in terms of avoiding hits and unnecessary contacts, remaining durable as a mobile quarterback even as others have had their bodies betray them. It feels like a preternatural quality, one that cannot be taught. Michael Vick is the most electric athlete I’ve ever seen, but the dude didn’t know how to slide and got clobbered constantly. Hurts’ vibe in this department feels more akin to the way Wilson protects himself.

Hurts’ talent is undeniable. He’s run for 100+ yards in a game and he’s also passed for 300+ yards and three TDs in a game. He’s got the goods. That doesn’t necessarily equate to guaranteed NFL stardom, but it’s a prominent component.

The thing I’ve found most impressive about Hurts is his poise at just 22. The Eagles were down 16-0 quickly against Arizona. Hurts hadn’t played well in the slightest and was at fault for a disastrous safety that went against the Birds. He rebounded and had the game tied up come the fourth quarter with a chance to win it in the end. That took stones. It is yet again reminiscent of Wilson.

That’s obviously the super-duper-wish-upon-a-star outcome, but if you squint just enough and have the perfect amount of brews in you, it comes into picture.

Solak’s Kyler Murray comp works for sure. That’s a more reasonable assessment, though still not remotely a guaranteed (Ben is lower on Kyler than I am). Murray has 37 total touchdowns in his sophomore season on a Cardinals team that would be in the playoffs if the postseason started his weekend. If Hurts does that in his second season, I’ll go get an Eagles-related tattoo (you can @OldTakesExposed this). It would mean that Howie Roseman fell backwards into the greatest draft pick of his career (I’m still crediting Andy Reid still for 2010-2012).

Hurts reminded of Dak Prescott during the pre-draft process and I liked his chances at the pro level, though I wasn’t projecting him as an Eagles selection of course. Prescott is in some ways a lesser Russ, so that fits.

I believe Hurts will be an above-average QB in this league, though there’s always room for a higher level to be unlocked. He won’t be Russell Wilson, but... I can at least daydream about it.

To continue on with a similar question...

@chrisforsyth58: Who in the NFL would you compare Hurts to and can you see us winning rings with him?

I tackled who I’d compare him to, but can the Birds win a ring with Hurts? Sure, why the hell not?

Nick Foles won a ring here under Doug Pederson. Jimmy Garoppolo played in a Super Bowl. Jared Goff played in a Super Bowl. It’s all about the roster construction!

If I was running the Eagles (luckily for everyone in the city I don’t), I would turn my entire focus for this team to 2022. Trade Carson Wentz before any money on his contract becomes guaranteed for 2022. You’re in cap hell regardless of whether he’s on the team next year. Let Hurts develop and take the lumps that come with a totaled effed roster financially in 2021.

Then comes 2022... Ideally, you already hit on a keeper or two in the 2021 NFL Draft. Add one or two more in 2022, plus the projected $50 million in cap space they’ll have that year (according to Over the Cap) and you try to strike lightning twice with the 2017 formula: talented vets surrounding a great head coach tutoring an emerging young quarterback still on his cheap rookie deal.

@alex252: What are the odds of the Eagles moving on from Wentz and drafting a QB in the first or second round this year? Gotta keep the QB factory humming?

I’m not sure if this is sarcastic given the “QB Factory” part, but I’d bet on Wentz not being in Philadelphia in 2021. He’s going to be a starter somewhere, an understandable desire for a guy who's had the career he has had, though I don’t necessarily expect that to be here with the Eagles (in due part to the team-building principles I laid out above).

If Hurts melts down the next two weeks, the Eagles lose both their games and they’re picking in the top seven or so? A quarterback is, and should be, on the table. I’m currently watching the Boca Raton Bowl and BYU is up 21-0 early in the second quarter behind the play of QB Zach Wilson. He’s a dude who gives me some Kyler Murray vibes as well. The Eagles won’t be in a position to draft a Trevor Lawrence or a Justin Fields, but if Hurts looks more like Bobby Hoying than the future savior of the city against Dallas and Washington, a quarterback needs to be considered.

I don’t expect Hurts to play like that, but when dealing with the most important position in all of sports, the person who’s essentially the most important figure in Philadelphia at any given time, all options have to be on the table.

@JustinF_89: What what would you consider the “greatest” loss in Eagles history?

How do we define “greatest” here?

There are levels at work.

The “greatest” loss in the sense it didn’t make me want to lie down in a dark room and listen to Joy Division for three hours?

It’s recency bias, but probably this past Sunday!

The “greatest” loss in the sense of a missed opportunity at a championship?

That’d be the 2002 NFC Championship Game against the Buccaneers. It was a storybook narrative. It was the last game at The Vet. They owned Tampa Bay. In retrospect, it would’ve been the one time in that four-year stretch of NFCCG appearances that they wouldn’t have played the Patriots in the Super Bowl. They were the better team. It was the best Eagles defense I’ve ever since in my time as a fan (I am 26). It crushed me, and the city as a whole, in a way that I’ve never totally recovered from as a sports fan. It shaped me for better and for worse.

The “greatest” loss in the sense of a singular moment?

Randall Cunningham tearing his ACL in Week 1 of the 1991 season. The Eagles still managed to go 10-6 with a bunch of guys who played touch football at 18th and Johnston at quarterback because they had literally the best defense of all time. No hyperbole. The 1991 Eagles are the greatest defense in the history of football. Randall was a First-Team All-Pro selection the year prior. It was the perfect recipe for the franchise’ first ever Super Bowl and it ended in a spectacularly Philadelphian fashion.

That’s kind of a downer note to end on, but it’s Dallas Week, so take solace in that.

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