The Philadelphia Eagles selected Jalen Hurts (?!) at No. 53 overall and Davion Taylor at No. 103 overall in the 2020 NFL Draft. Now it’s time to see what the so-called “experts” are saying about the selections.
First, let’s look at how Eagles fans reacted to the pick here at Bleeding Green Nation. With nearly 13,000 votes cast, 61% of Eagles fans gave the Hurts selection an “F” grade. This has to be the most negative reaction I’ve seen to an Eagles draft pick since I started professionally covering the team in 2013.
My grade? I’ll give this pick an F+.
Some things I do like about the Hurts pick:
- Hurts seems to be a good culture guy. He’s lauded as a leader and he handled his benching at Alabama well.
- Hurts finished second in Heisman Trophy voting after a very productive senior season at Oklahoma.
- Hurts is a mobile threat. He logged 233 attempts for 1,298 rushing yards (5.6 average) and 20 rushing touchdowns in 2019. The Eagles said they wanted to get faster ... well, Hurts is fast!
- The Eagles needed more help at backup quarterback given that Nate Sudfeld and Kyle Lauletta were the only options behind Carson Wentz.
Some things I don’t like about the Hurts pick:
Where to even begin?
- The Eagles used pick No. 53 on a player who will never play a snap for Philly in the best case scenario. It’s just not a good use of resources.
- You don’t spend a second-round pick on a player to be your version of Taysom Hill. Hill averaged 15 snaps per game last year and some of them came when the New Orleans Saints were blowing teams out.
- The Eagles are inexplicably undermining Carson Wentz’s late season run from last year when he erased all doubt that he’s the undisputed franchise quarterback. There are going to be times when there are calls for Hurts.
- It’s so strange to talk about the Eagles drafting Hurts in light of Wentz’s injury history. If the team was so concerned about that, why the rush to sign Wentz to a $100+ million extension last year? We’re really talking about him being injury prone after a season in which he just started all 17 games?
- This offseason was supposed to be about supporting Wentz. The Eagles are coming off a season where they adequately failed to do so. And yet they’ve made just one personnel move to help Wentz this offseason: drafting Jalen Reagor. That’s it. One move. Meanwhile, teams like the Dallas Cowboys and the Denver Broncos are surrounding their young quarterbacks with a ton of weapons.
- The Eagles watched a lot of Oklahoma tape and came away wanting Jalen Hurts instead of CeeDee Lamb. There’s at least a decent chance they could’ve packaged No. 53 with No. 21 to move up to get Lamb.
- The Eagles really drafted a backup quarterback in the second round in a year where’s an abnormal surplus at the position in free agency. Cam Newton, Joe Flacco, Josh McCown, Jameis Winston, and Matt Moore are all still on the market. Andy Dalton could be at some point too.
- Howie Roseman and this front office are not inspiring confidence this offseason. There are real questions about the direction of this team.
- “QUARTERBACK FACTORY”
I’m on the same page with the plurality. I’ll give this pick a C+.
Some things I do like about the Taylor pick:
- I got a good first impression while listening to him speak on his conference call with Philly media. Seems like a good kid.
- Taylor’s upside is intriguing. He’s only 21 years old and he’s very athletic. There’s some intriguing upside here.
- The Eagles needed another body at linebacker. They’re thin at that spot in the short-term and the long-term.
- Taylor can probably at least help on special teams.
Some things I don’t like about the Taylor pick:
- Taylor is very raw. He barely played any high school football before logging just 24 games at Colorado. The Eagles need some instant impact at linebacker considering Nathan Gerry and T.J. Edwards are currently the projected starters. That’s just not the most inspiring duo. And the depth behind them is very suspect.
- Taylor feels like a reach. He really wouldn’t have been available on Day 3? Teams were just dying to get a player who doesn’t seem like a sure bet to contribute in Year 1?
- The Eagles got one immediate starter out of their first three picks.
- The Eagles probably could’ve just traded down to get the fo offer. Would’ve made sense for a team that said they wants to pick in volume.
Vikings trade: Pick 105.— Field Yates (@FieldYates) April 25, 2020
Saints trade: Picks 130, 169, 203, 244.
Now for more hot takes and draft grades from “experts” around the web.
Grade: Wow. Hurts has potential as a franchise QB, but he was expected to be drafted by a team with a long-in-the-tooth veteran, probably in the third round or so. Instead, it was Round 2 and the Eagles — who have 27-year-old Carson Wentz under contract for five more years. They also have a possible out of that contract after 2021. Interesting, verrrrrry interesting. In a lot of ways it’s similar to what the Packers did with Aaron Rodgers and Jordan Love, only probably dumber!
No. 103: Eagles select LB Davion Taylor, Colorado Grade: Sure A useful and steady tackler in the middle of the field who will, in no way, help Eagles fans forget their team spent a second-round pick on Jalen Hurts less than a year after signing Carson Wentz to a $126 million extension.
53. Philadelphia Eagles: QB Jalen Hurts. Carson Wentz has obviously been injury prone, but it’s highly unlikely that Philadelphia would spend a second-round pick on an insurance policy here, and it is inconceivable that they’d even contemplate replacing a 27-year-old QB who has superstar traits. Most likely, Hurts is here to be a utility gadget player for offensive scientist Doug Pederson. But don’t make any Taysom Hill comparisons; Hurts is merely a dual-threat QB, he’s not a blocker or receiver on top of that. This is a strange pick by a ready-to-win-now team that could still use another wide receiver and needs a potential starting linebacker. GRADE: D
103: Philadelphia Eagles: LB Davion Taylor. Taylor is perceived to be a raw but potentially explosive prospect. Such a project is probably not what linebacker-hungry Eagles fans want for 2020, but as we highlighted in Philadelphia’s “team needs” before the draft, the defensive staff has good reason to be comfortable with young incumbents T.J. Edwards and Nathan Gerry as their starting nickel options. And if they take the long view, the fans have plenty to look forward to given the upside that comes with having 4.39 speed. GRADE: B
53) Philadelphia Eagles: QB Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma — Our first stunner of Round 2. Is this a referendum on Carson Wentz? It’s hard to know how to read this. But Hurts can contribute as a specialty-package performer until he’s ready — or until Wentz gets hurt, if that happens again. The Eagles had done a lot of work on QBs in this draft class, but we frankly didn’t expect this here. The grade reflects the value of the pick, not Hurts’ upside, which really is intriguing. Grade: C.
103) Philadelphia Eagles: LB Davion Taylor, Colorado — Taylor has electric speed to make plays sideline to sideline, but he’s still developing his football instincts after not playing for a year in high school because of religious reasons. Still, he has track athlete traits and outstanding stamina, and played almost every defensive snap last season and on special teams — in the high altitude, no less. Taylor could be a fan favorite in time, but he’s unrefined and in need of more coaching. Grade: C.
53. Eagles: QB Jalen Hurts, Alabama. Grade: C+. Hurts is a new-age QB. Improving as a passer but still has a ways to go. Arm strength is an issue. RB as a scrambler. Love the accuracy. Strange pick with Carson Wentz entrenched as starter.
103. Eagles: EDGE Davion Taylor, Colorado. Grade: A. Taylor got a raw label during pre-draft process I didn’t see. Crazy fast. Takes on and defeats blocks with authority. Played and held his own flexed out as cornerback at times. Major range. Reads keys quickly. New-age LB and exactly what Philadelphia needs.
So despite his up-and-down college career, Hurts is no boom-or-bust prospect. At worst, he could grow quickly into a more mobile Mitch Trubisky. Tighten a bunch of screws and he can become Deshaun Watson. But he’s most likely to fall in the range between Bad Tannehill and Good Tannehill. So...what does that mean for Hurts, Carson Wentz and the Eagles? It’s hard to say right now. But the Eagles just kept Philly sports talk radio in business until the end of the quarantine. And whatever role Hurts plays—backup, challenger, Wildcat, whatever—he cannot possibly help the Eagles as much as an edge-rusher or another receiver would have. Grade: D-
For a still-inexperienced defender, Taylor handled a lot of responsibilities for the Buffaloes defense. He was officially a “Will” linebacker, but he covered slot receivers, was given some A-gap blitz assignments and would split wide when opponents spread the field for tunnel screens. Taylor is still raw when it comes to engaging blocks and other important details, and it’s a stretch to think he can cover top slot receivers at the NFL level, but he’s fast, rangy and explosive when he’s close to the ball. Taylor has sky-high upside and isn’t quite the novice that his background suggests. Look for him to start on special teams but quickly grow into (at least) a productive nickel linebacker. This is a solid pick for an Eagles team that always seems a little short when it comes to athleticism at linebacker. At least they didn’t draft another quarterback. Grade: B+
What is the best-case scenario? That’s what I asked Howie Roseman during a news conference Friday night. He pointed out Hurts is going to be a valuable player and a potential asset. So the Eagles used a second-round pick on a player with hopes that they can potentially flip him down the road like they did with Kevin Kolb or A.J. Feeley? That seems like the definition of overthinking it. What I can’t get over is that the Eagles have a franchise quarterback who is 27, and they should be doing everything in their power to help him succeed. Look at what the Cowboys did Thursday. Did they need a wide receiver? No. But CeeDee Lamb dropped in the first round, and they grabbed him. This comes weeks after they re-signed Amari Cooper to a huge contract. The Cowboys are giving Dak Prescott help so that they can build a consistently efficient offense, which is the best way to sustain success in the NFL. The Eagles just used a second-round pick on a backup quarterback. [BLG Note: GRADES FOR HURTS: D, D, and D+]
Taylor is a fine use of the 103rd pick. Linebacker is an obvious need, and I am a proponent of taking swings on players with athletic traits. Taylor ran a 4.49-second 40-yard dash and ranked in the 84.5 percentile for athleticism when compared to other linebackers. He might not come in and start right away, but perhaps he carves out a role in sub-packages and plays special teams. The athletic profile suggests there’s some upside. Having said that, it’s fair to (again) wonder if this was the best use of resources. The Vikings traded back from No. 105 to No. 130 in a deal with the Saints, and picked up three additional picks for Day 3. The Eagles often talk about drafting for volume and getting a lot of bites at the apple. Howie Roseman said that trade was available to them at No. 103, but they decided to stay put and draft Taylor. [BLG Note: GRADES FOR TAYLOR: C, B-, and B]
I love Hurts as a competitor; he will be a plus in any locker room. Carson Wentz has missed some time over his first four seasons, so getting Hurts as an insurance policy is not a terrible idea. Eagles coach Doug Pederson can help Hurts reach his potential as a pure passer, proving this to be an excellent selection down the line. If Pederson wants to use Hurts in a Taysom Hill-type role in the meantime, he can do that, too. Taylor was an easy pick for the Eagles to make in Round 3, as he’s a linebacker able to cover a lot of ground and then explode into tackles. They will be able to get a running back, safety and interior offensive lineman later in the draft. Day 2 grade and analysis: A-