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Eagles News: PFF argues Philadelphia drafting Jalen Hurts was a great pick

Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 4/29/20.

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Jalen Hurts wasn’t a good pick by the Philadelphia Eagles — he was a great one - PFF
Carson Wentz has been a solid NFL quarterback after being selected as the No. 2 overall pick in 2016. He showed promise as a rookie, was playing at an MVP level before injury in 2017 and has been in the 11 to 15 range among quarterbacks according to PFF passing grades and numbers-based efficiency metrics in 2018 and 2019. His four years of NFL performance give us confidence that he’ll be an above-average quarterback, but not necessarily an elite one. Jalen Hurts is a stronger contender to become an elite quarterback than most think, especially for a prospect available outside the first round. Hurts was highly successful in his final season at Oklahoma, with a 70% completion percentage, 12.2 adjusted yards per attempt and a PFF passing grade only lower than No. 1 pick Joe Burrow among drafted quarterbacks. You can take issue with his late breakout, but quarterbacks like Russell Wilson have shown it’s possible to turn a late breakout into an elite NFL career.

The Eagles drafted to turbocharge their roster - BGN
Once you can see that Jalen Reagor was in a uniquely bad situation last year, it becomes a lot easier to be excited about him in Philly. Reagor is a special athlete with easy speed and a surprising ability to play above the rim. With Carson Wentz throwing him the ball, Reagor should produce big plays from day one. He could be a unpolished early on, but the Eagles would be smart to feed him the ball given his propensity to turn any touch into a big play. Needless to say, Reagor is a high upside player who landed in the perfect situation to succeed. A guy with his talent and competitive fire is exactly what the Eagles need at their receiver position.

Big Picture Draft Thoughts - BGN Radio
Jimmy Kempski and Brandon Lee Gowton go through each Eagles selection (and non-selection) to give their thoughts on the haul, plus thoughts on UDFA’s and more! Powered by SB Nation and Bleeding Green Nation.

Philadelphia Eagles 2020 draft grades - PhillyVoice
Conclusion: I do wonder if there’s some kind of mathematical formula that factors in Wentz’s injury history, the importance of the position, and the expected number of games won or lost based on the projected number of snaps a backup has to play over the course of a season. If so, there’s maybe an argument that a backup like Hurts is a sensible pick. What can never be factored in, however, is emotion. Sure, the team spoke with Wentz before making this pick, but is he happy about it privately? Will Hurts be happy being a backup behind a 27-year-old franchise quarterback for the foreseeable future? And again, how will teammates react if Hurts is forced into action, and he raises doubt over who the better option is? In my view, the upside of this pick has limits, but the downside could be really bad. Grade: D.

Some Love for Reagor - Iggles Blitz
Now that a few days have passed, people seem to be more comfortable with the Eagles first round selection of WR Jalen Reagor. Of course, it helps when you have experts explaining why they think he is a special prospect.

The Eight NFL Draft Sleepers Who Could Make an Instant Impact - The Ringer
Eagles: WR John Hightower, Boise State (fifth round, 168th overall). A glaring lack of speed played a part in hamstringing the Eagles’ offense in 2019, so GM Howie Roseman went all out in ensuring his team is more than just one DeSean Jackson injury away from crumbling again next season. Philly went for speed, speed, and more speed last weekend, selecting TCU’s Jalen Reagor (the winner of PFF’s Best Deep Threat award) in the first round before adding Boise State’s Hightower (one of two honorable mentions) in the fifth. (They also grabbed Quez Watkins, who ran 4.35-second 40-yard dash at the combine, in the sixth.) Hightower doesn’t come with nearly as much hype as Reagor, but has the chance to carve out a role on the outside early in his career. The former Bronco ran a 4.43-second 40 at the combine and has notched an average depth of target of 17.7 yards in the past two seasons combined, third most among all draft-eligible WRs. Hightower caught 51 passes for 943 yards and eight touchdowns in 2019, averaging 18.5 yards per catch, and contributed as an end-around and sweep weapon, notching 154 yards on 16 totes. He combines scintillating acceleration with top-end runaway speed and plenty of length. While he’ll start his career firmly behind Jackson, Alshon Jeffery, and Reagor, injuries could quickly push him into action.

Kapadia: What the Jalen Hurts pick says about how the Eagles view Carson Wentz - The Athletic
Wentz has watched as other teams traded for DeAndre Hopkins and Stefon Diggs while the Eagles, the only team last year without a wide receiver who gained at least 500 yards, opted to address the position solely through the draft. If I were the Eagles, I would have made this offseason about going all in to help Wentz. He’s 27 and has shown that he has a high ceiling. I would have been aggressive in trying to land Hopkins. I would have considered signing a lower-level free agent like Breshad Perriman. I would have thought about spending two early picks on wide receivers. I would have left no stone unturned in upgrading the talent around Wentz in an effort to build a top-five passing attack in 2020 — even if that meant leaving the defense bare. As for the backup quarterback spot, I would have invested in a competent veteran like Case Keenum. Instead, the Eagles went big on the defense via trades and free agency and used a second-round pick on Wentz’s backup. They talked all offseason about supporting Wentz. They hired about 37 offensive coaches. Some even suggested that part of the reasoning behind letting Malcolm Jenkins walk was to “hand the locker room over” to Wentz. That notion now looks especially laughable. What’s going to happen if Wentz has a couple of bad games? What if the wide receivers think Wentz isn’t targeting them enough and gravitate toward Hurts? There’s a reason teams who have talented quarterbacks in their prime don’t spend high picks on backups. It can get messy, and the risk can outweigh the chances of ever seeing the reward.

Eagles’ pick of Jalen Hurts could mean more turbulence for Carson Wentz - ESPN
Foles’ wild success during his second stint in Philadelphia created an awkward situation for Wentz, who was trying to climb back from injury and establish command of the team in the wake of historic team achievement led by his backup. Anonymous critics surfaced and allegiances were questioned. Though Foles was a top-notch teammate by all accounts, his departure last offseason provided Wentz with the oxygen he needed. Wentz elevated a young group of unheralded skill players and led the team to four straight wins to secure a playoff berth and cement himself once more as the Eagles’ leader on offense.

Howie Roseman: Not my place to decide whether Jalen Hurts will be used like Taysom Hill - PFT
On Tuesday’s #PFTPM, Eagles G.M. Howie Roseman was asked point blank whether Hurts will be used in a Taysom Hill-style capacity, on the field at the same time as Wentz. “That is a better question for Coach Pederson,” Roseman said. “I’m not trying to duck it, but I also don’t feel like that is my dojo.” So I tried it a different way: “Do you envision that in your own mind? Do you think, ‘I would like to see this guy out there and see what he can do in a different capacity than quarterback?’ regardless of what the coach is going to do?” “I love Carson Wentz, man,” Roseman said. “I love Carson Wentz, and I love going to bed at night putting my bed on the pillow knowing that we have a strong quarterback room. That, to me, makes me sleep better.”

News and notes in this calm-after-the-storm time -
I haven’t talked about the non-drafted rookie class and I acknowledge that it’s going to really hard for these men to make an impression with the shortened on-field time they are going to have. Running back Michael Warren is a bull at 5-9, 226 pounds and he averaged 5.2 yards per carry at Cincinnati. The Eagles are set with Miles Sanders and Boston Scott, and at this point they’ve got Warren and Elijah Holyfield battling for the “power back” spot. Adrian Killins is a lightweight at 162 pounds but that didn’t stop him from dominating at Central Florida. He’s got quicks all day long. And keep an eye on Dante Olson, a linebacker from Montana who won the Buck Buchanan Award in 2019 as the FCS Defensive Player of the Year.

Cowboys roster move: CB Daryl Worley indicates he is signing with Dallas - Blogging The Boys
The Carolina Panthers drafted Worley in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft, but he has spent the last two seasons with the Oakland Raiders. He is obviously still young and the Cowboys are clearly looking for a veteran they can trust, it seems that he fits that bill.

ESPN will air a special on Alex Smith’s recovery from a devastating leg injury on Friday night - Hogs Haven
ESPN has been working with Mr. and Mrs. Smith to chronicle his recovery, and his goal to return to playing in the NFL for their E60 Project 11 documentary. They received total access to his rehabilitation process, and got them to open up about the entire ordeal, and Alex Smith’s drive to not only walk again, but to become a professional athlete again. People have varied opinions about Alex Smith as an NFL QB, but you can’t dismiss his drive and commitment to the game that he loves. This is must watch TV for any NFL fan.

End-of-Half Strategy in the NFL - Football Outsiders
The most egregious kneeldown by far was the aforementioned “accident.” In 2015, the Redskins had the ball at the Eagles’ 6-yard line with six seconds remaining in the first half. Kirk Cousins forgot how football worked, and took a knee when he was supposed to spike the ball to stop the clock. The Redskins lost out on 3.33 expected adjusted net points there.

Some Sports May Have to Skip This Year, Fauci Says - New York Times
Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the leading U.S. infectious disease expert, said widespread testing with speedy results would be needed if sports leagues are to safely restart their seasons.

How NFL is set, if needed, to shake up its schedule - Sports Business Daily
A regular season that starts as late as Thursday, Oct. 15. An NFL season with no bye weeks or Pro Bowl. These are all contingencies that the NFL has considered as the league moves forward with its plans to hold a full regular season. The league’s executives are trying to put themselves in the best position to fit in a full season, or at least a nearly full season, even if there are delays. NFL schedule-makers are in the process of designing a 2020 season that has several different wrinkles. When the schedule is released next month, it will look like a standard 16-game, 17-week slate, but it will be designed to allow for several steps that could become necessary depending on the state of the pandemic. (The 17-game regular season agreed to in the new CBA goes into effect with the 2021 season.)


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