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Every excuse the Eagles have given for drafting Jalen Hurts is stupid

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Fool’s Gold Standard

NFL: FEB 27 Scouting Combine Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Eagles are trying every excuse they can think of to justify using their 2nd round pick on a quarterback. They’re all stupid.

First let’s take a look at how unusual this situation is. Over the past 20 years, 21 QBs have been drafted in the 2nd round. Teams that have drafted them have usually fit one of two profiles: they have a starter in their mid to late 30s, or their QB depth chart is awful. There’s a third category of drafting an insurance policy behind a QB in his early 30s with injury concerns, but 75% of the time that starting QB was the same person. Nearly a third of the time, the team has had a new coach putting his own mark on the team.

2nd Round QBs 2000-2019

Year QB Team QB# Other QB(s) Category New coach? Notes
Year QB Team QB# Other QB(s) Category New coach? Notes
2019 Drew Lock DEN 4th 34 year old Joe Flacco Aging vet Yes
2017 DeShone Kizer CLE 4th Kevin Hogan and Cody Kessler Bad starter No 3 QBs started the year before
2016 Christian Hackenberg NYJ 4th 34 year old Ryan Fitzpatrick Aging vet No
2014 Derek Carr OAK 4th 33 year old Matt Schaub Aging vet No 3 QBs started the year before
2014 Jimmy Garoppolo NE 5th 37 year old Tom Brady Aging vet No
2013 Geno Smith NYJ 2nd 35 year old David Garrard, Matt Sims Everything No Garrard retired a month later
2012 Brock Osweiler DEN 5th 36 year old Peyton Manning Aging vet No Manning had missed previous season
2011 Andy Dalton CIN 5th Bruce Gradkowski Bad starter No Previous seasons's starter retired in offseason
2011 Colin Kaepernick SF 6th Alex Smith Bad starter Yes Smith's career passer rating was 76.4
2010 Jimmy Clausen CAR 3rd Matt Moore Bad starter No Previous season's starter was cut
2009 Pat White MIA 4th 33 year old Chad Pennington Insurance No Drafted as a wildcat QB
2008 Brian Brohm GB 3rd Aaron Rodgers Insurance No Rodgers had yet to start a game
2008 Chad Henne MIA 4th 32 year old Chad Pennington Insurance Yes Pennington had missed 8 games in 2007
2007 Kevin Kolb PHI 3rd 31 year old Donovan McNabb Insurance No McNabb missed 13 games previous two seasons
2007 John Beck MIA 4th 37 year old Trent Green Aging vet Yes 3 QBs started the year before
2007 Drew Stanton DET 5th 35 year old Jon Kitna Aging vet No
2006 Kellen Clemens NYJ 4th Chad Pennington Insurance Yes Pennington had never started 16 games
2006 Tarvaris Jackson MIN 5th 38 year old Brad Johnson Aging vet Yes Previous season's starter was traded
2001 Drew Brees SD 2nd 39 year old Doug Flutie Aging vet No 3 QBs started the year before
2001 Quincy Carter DAL 3rd Ryan Leaf, Clint Stoerner Bad starter No Previous seasons's starter retired in offseason
2001 Marques Tuiasosopo OAK 4th 36 year old Rich Gannon Aging vet No

The Eagles fit none of these profiles. The only situations that are remotely close here are the 2007 Eagles and 2008 Packers, but those comparisons are thin. Both were controversial picks, but you could at least sort of see where they were coming from.

McNabb had missed 6 and 7 games in each of the previous two seasons, and was coming off an ACL tear. There was deserved controversy when Kolb was selected, but a 31 year old coming off a major injury is a reason to consider drafting a backup.

Rodgers was handed the starting job due to Brett Favre finally leaving, but he had just 59 career attempts. This pick was also controversial and led to Packers GM Ted Thompson having to immediately say that they are fully confident in Rodgers, just like the Eagles did with Wentz. With an unknown as your starter, you can understand the idea of adding an insurance policy. Green Bay then doubled up and took Matt Flynn in the 7th round. It’s worth pointing out that Mike McCarthy, Rodgers’ head coach in 2008 and the 49ers offensive coordinator in 2005, was a reason why the 49ers passed on Rodgers in the 2005 draft.

Value Pick

What is good value for a 2nd round pick? What is good value for a backup quarterback? Your mileage may vary on the exact answers, but there are four outcomes to this selection.

The first is that Jalen Hurts succeeds Carson Wentz as the starting QB, and is good. If that’s the case the Eagles will look kind of brilliant, but also like morons for giving 26 year old Carson Wentz a contract extension and then turning on him a year later. It is not a scenario that fills you with confidence about the organization. This would be great value, but for all the wrong reasons.

The second is that the Eagles get quality backup play of Hurts but without Wentz suffering serious injury, then flip Hurts for draft capital/players. We’ll come back to this.

The third is that Hurts plays enough and well enough for a team to want him, but not enough for a team to trade for him. We’ve seen this before with Tyrod Taylor, but he was a 6th round pick and gave the Ravens no on field value, he had 63 touches in four years. For a 6th rounder that’s great value, for a 2nd not so much. In this scenario the Eagles would get at best a 3rd round comp pick in 2024. While not the worst outcome, as having a quality backup and getting a 3rd round comp pick are both valuable, having your 2nd round pick walk in free agency would be embarrassing.

The fourth is that Jalen Hurts stinks and he is either released or walks in free agency and doesn’t register as a comp pick, and the Eagles get nothing. The worst possible outcome, and considering the bust rate of quarterbacks, also the most likely.

So let’s assume a the second option, which is a best case scenario: nothing serious goes wrong with Carson Wentz, but Hurts has trade value in two or three years. It is unrealistic to expect the Eagles acquire a better pick than they gave up.

Over the past 10 years, quarterbacks have been traded for draft capital 42 times. 32 times they were traded for a 4th round pick or later.

QB For Draft Pick Trades 2010-2020

Year QB Pick(s) Received Originally Acquired Note
Year QB Pick(s) Received Originally Acquired Note
2020 Nick Foles 4th FA
2020 Kyle Allen 5th UDFA
2019 Ryan Tannehill 4th & 7th 1st Also sent a 6th
2019 Case Keenum 6th & 7th FA
2019 Josh Rosen 2nd & 5th 1st
2019 Josh Dobbs 5th 4th
2019 Joe Flacco 4th 1st
2018 Alex Smith 3rd 2nd Also recieved Kendall Fuller
2018 Teddy Bridgewater 3rd FA Also sent a 6th
2018 Trevor Siemian 5th 7th Also sent a 7th
2018 DeShone Kizer 4th & 5th 2nd Also sent a 4th & 5th, received Damarious Randall
2018 AJ McCarron 5th 5th
2018 Brett Hundley 6th 5th
2018 Kevin Hogan 6th 5th Also sent a 6th
2018 Cody Kessler 7th 3rd
2017 Jimmy Garoppolo 2nd 2nd In season
2017 Tyrod Taylor 3rd FA
2017 Brock Osweiler 4th FA Also sent a 2nd and 6th
2017 Cardale Jones 7th 4th
2016 Sam Bradford 1st, 4th 2nd & 4th In season
2016 Matt Cassel 5th FA Also sent a 7th
2015 Sam Bradford 2nd & 4th 1st Also sent a 5th, received Nick Foles
2015 Nick Foles 5th 3rd Also sent a 2nd & 4th, received Sam Bradford
2015 Ryan Fitzpatrick 6th FA
2015 Case Keenum 7th FA
2015 Matt Cassel 6th & 7th FA
2015 Matt Barkley 7th 4th
2014 Carson Palmer 6th & 7th 1st & 2nd Also sent a 7th
2014 Ryan Mallet 7th 3rd
2014 Matt Schaub 6th Two 2nds, swap of 1sts
2014 Blaine Gabbert 6th 1st
2014 Terrelle Pryor 7th 3rd
2013 Alex Smith 2nd 1st
2013 Matt Flynn 5th FA
2013 Colt McCoy 5th & 7th 3rd Also sent a 6th
2012 Tarvaris Jackson 7th FA
2012 Tim Tebow 4th & 6th 1st Also sent a 7th
2012 Brady Quinn 6th 1st Also recieved Peyton Hillis
2012 Drew Stanton 6th FA Also sent a 7th
2011 Carson Palmer 1st & 2nd 1st In season
2011 Kevin Kolb 2nd 2nd Also recieved Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
2011 Donovan McNabb 6th 2nd & 4th

Let’s focus on the ten that were dealt for at least a 3rd round pick. Seven of the ten trades were for experienced QBs: Carson Palmer, Alex Smith twice, Sam Bradford twice, Teddy Bridgewater, and Tyrod Taylor. All were starters for at least two years.

In just three of 42 trades over the past decade was a QB with fewer than two years of starting experience traded for better than a 4th round pick: Josh Rosen, Jimmy Garoppolo, and Kevin Kolb. Rosen was traded for less value than the pick he was taken for. Garoppolo and Kolb were traded for a pick in the same round they were drafted in, though the Eagles also received DRC for Kolb.

So the best case scenario that doesn’t involve Carson Wentz missing significant time is the Eagles getting a high 2nd round pick, or a later 2nd round and a starter in three or four years. Is that the best use of the 53rd overall pick? Was that the best use of the 53rd overall pick for the 2020 Eagles? Is that reward worth the risk for this team?

The QB Factory

Howie Roseman was deservedly mocked for his “QB factory” comment. It’s the new “gold standard” line that should haunt them for years. This is of course absurd, as the Eagles under Doug Pederson have truly developed one QB: Carson Wentz. Nick Foles was a finished product that they fixed up and they deserve credit for both of those. But Chase Daniel, McLeod-Bethel Thompson, Matt McGloin, Aaron Murray, Joe Callahan, Christian Hackenberg, Louis Perez, Cody Kessler and Clayton Thorson have come and gone for nothing, and it is hard to see them getting anything for Nate Sudfeld.

If you want to add a quality backup QB with the hope of getting draft capital out of him, you don’t have to use draft capital to get him. The Eagles should know this since it’s what they did with Nick Foles. The Eagles gave up nothing nor canceled out a comp pick for signing Foles, then gained a 3rd round comp pick for him. They got the benefit of having a veteran QB rather than a developmental one, got good play out of him (well, great play out of him, but let’s not raise the bar too high), and they got a valuable pick in return. That’s manufacturing, or more accurately refurbishing. There are several QBs available in free agency right now that would be quality backups. (You will see this material again.) You’d have a much higher floor of play if Wentz were to miss time, and potentially essentially buy draft picks.

Cheap contract to spend elsewhere

It’s true that the Eagles save cap space by going with a rookie QB. But they haven’t operated this way for most of the Doug Pederson era, they paid high salaries to their backups while Carson Wentz was on his cheap rookie contract. Chase Daniel got $12M for one year of work, they ate $11M of Sam Bradford’s contract, and paid Nick Foles $15M for two years. Josh McCown’s $2M was actually a fair market value. Now that Wentz is highly paid they apparently want to save money on his backups to invest elsewhere. That would be fine but they haven’t really invested that money. The addition of Marquise Goodwin will count for $4M in 2020, but it is next to impossible to see them keeping him in 2021 when he’s scheduled to make $7M. He is the only veteran they have acquired on offense.

Great Teammate

In a not so subtle shot at the anonymous sources who have said mean things about Carson Wentz—who they are trying to protect by using a 2nd rounder on his backup and creating a media focal point—the Eagles went out of their way to talk about what a great guy Jalen Hurts is. I’m sure he is. I have no ill will towards Hurts, this isn’t about him as a person or player. I’m glad the Eagles drafted a high character guy instead of someone who might assault a cabana boy. It feels nice to root for good guys. But “we wanted to get him a friend” is something you say about adopting another pet, not drafting a player.

COVID-19

This one is just pathetic. It’s sad really. In an incredible display of not having a bullshit filter, Adam Schefter actually went on national TV and said this:

Now in this day and age, I’ve had teams tell me it’s more important than ever to have a backup quarterback in this pandemic. We’re going to be playing next year, coronavirus is out there, COVID-19, what if your quarterback gets the virus? It’s an interesting situation here. I think there are more problems than ever before. And so I think teams are looking up to sure up the most important position in the sport. And that’s why the Eagles did it.

“What if your quarterback gets the virus?” What if your quarterback gets the virus.

I can not imagine the stupidity it takes to come up with a scenario in your galaxy brain that Carson Wentz gets Coronavirus but nobody else on the team does. The entire reason you can’t eat in a restaurant right now is that simply being in a room while having the virus puts everyone in the room at high risk of contracting the virus. If Carson Wentz has it then there’s a really good chance that Jalen Hurts has it too. That QB room ain’t in open air.

And it ignores that the NBA came to a screeching halt when one player tested positive, and then we found out that several players he either played with or against also got it. The NFL would have to be Brian Kemp level of tone deaf to keep playing if this happened, and the NFLPA would have to be injecting bleach into their bodies level of dumb to allow it to happen. We’re not even confident that there will be a season, or when it will start.

Speaking of Coronavirus, I wrote this in a piece about why the Eagles would be wasting a day three pick on a QB, but it applies to a second rounder as well:

The COVID-19 pandemic adds another layer to this. This is not an ideal offseason to draft a developmental QB. These QBs need hands on coaching, a ton of practice reps, hours and hours of film study with coaches, and other things that aren’t going to happen this summer. We can not even be sure at this time when the season will begin. It’s a bad environment to bring a late round QB into.

If you’re truly weighing how the pandemic will or could affect your QB situation, wouldn’t you be better off signing a guy with experience to take over if necessary?

Taysom Hill

If not for Adam Schefter’s pandemic concerns, this would be the most pathetic reason. Taysom Hill was an undrafted free agent who wasn’t even originally signed by the Saints, he started with the Packers so the Saints were able to let another team spend time and effort figuring out if Hill was worth even a practice squad roster spot. The Saints stashed him on the roster for a year before using him as a utility player of questionable value. Every time he throws the ball is a time when Drew freaking Brees doesn’t. Because of that they’ve only let him throw 13 times, he has a 46.6 passer rating. Last season he averaged 15 snaps a game, and his playing time decreased when Brees was injured, he played 17 snaps per game when Brees was healthy, 12 per game when he was hurt. The guy at the top of Taysom Hill’s positional depth chart missed nearly six games and he ended the season 17th in offensive snaps. The Saints third string center played more than Taysom Hill did. Hill was the Saints #3 QB last season and the Saints are so confident in his abilities as a backup quarterback that they just signed Jameis Winston to be the #2. Hey look at that, a team trying to win a Super Bowl and with an injury concern at QB signed a veteran to be the backup. Apparently that’s an option.

These excuses that the Eagles have either peddled out themselves or got water carrying media members to repeat aren’t just weak, they’re insultingly stupid.