Jalen Hurts is the Eagles’ quarterback of the present but it very much remains to be seen if he’s the Eagles’ quarterback of the future. Especially considering Philadelphia has avenues to replace him since they (likely) own three first-rounds picks in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Assuming they’re ready to move on from Hurts, the Eagles would probably prefer to trade for an established quarterback ... such as Russell Wilson. But there’s no guarantee that they’ll be able to land a top talent with a no-trade clause. And, thus, it’s at least possible the Eagles will look to draft yet another signal caller. (It’s the QB Factory after all, baby.)
On that note, it’s probably worth pointing out that Eagles general manager Howie Roseman is traveling to watch Thursday night’s college football matchup between Pittsburgh and North Carolina (per Johnny McGonigal of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette). He’s one of five GMs expected to be in attendance to watch teams quarterbacked by potential first-round picks in Kenny Pickett (Pitt) and Sam Howell (UNC).
Pickett has been viewed as a riser this season. The fifth-year passer is completing 68.7% of his attempts for 3,171 yards, 29 touchdowns, and just three interceptions for a 7-2 Pitt team. Mel Kiper recently ranked Pickett as the top QB in the upcoming draft.
“Pickett is making a leap not unlike Joe Burrow’s from two seasons ago. After his impressive performance against Clemson, I’m ready to put him on my Big Board. The fifth-year senior has been tremendous this season, completing 68.9 percent of his passes with 23 touchdowns and just one interception. He ranks third in the country in QBR (88.1). He has 18 career rushing touchdowns. Pickett was up and down the past two seasons, throwing 18 picks and averaging 6.9 yards per attempt. He’s up to 9.2 this season. He is accurate to all three levels of the field, has shown patience in taking the checkdown throws when necessary and has good zip on his throws. Offensive coordinator Mark Whipple has done a great job with Pickett’s development.”
One of the downsides to Pickett is that he’ll be 24 years old before he plays his first NFL game. Contrast that to Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields, who are playing their rookie seasons at age 22. Mac Jones is 23. Age doesn’t have to be a disqualifying factor but it does raise questions about Pickett taking advantage of younger competition and the ceiling for improvement.
Howell, meanwhile, has been viewed as a faller. There was thought he could be the top QB prospect entering this college football season but he’s struggled to consistently impress. Howell is completing 63.1% of his passes for 2,408 yards, 20 touchdowns, and seven interceptions. He’s already reached his pick total from each of the past two seasons with multiple games left to play.
The early rap on the 2022 QB class is that there are no elite quarterback prospects to be had, which is a disappointment development for the Eagles. Then again, it’s hardly like people know exactly how a given QB crop is going to turn out. Once upon a time, many thought Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota were leaps and bounds better than Jared Goff and Carson Wentz and that didn’t exactly turn out to be true.
Strong class or not, the Eagles would be remiss not to do their homework on quarterback prospects. Roseman’s expected presence at Heinz Field tomorrow evening indicates they’re at least doing due diligence.