When the Eagles drafted Jalen Hurts in the second round last year, it set off a chain of events that now has Hurts as Philadelphia’s starting quarterback, Nick Sirianni as the team’s head coach, and 2016 No. 2 overall pick Carson Wentz starting in Indianapolis.
Eagles General Manager Howie Roseman was asked during an interview on Sports Radio 94WIP on Wednesday morning if he would draft Hurts in 2020 knowing all that he knows now about the fallout of that choice. His answer boils down to “yes,” but Roseman brought up San Francisco as an example of why a team might draft a quarterback when it already has a starter who’s had success. And that has a lot to do with availability.
“[The 49ers] sat there and they said, hey we like our starting quarterback; we’ve got to make sure he stays on the field,” Roseman said. “And they traded three first-round picks to go up and get another quarterback. And their quarterback has been a starting quarterback in the Super Bowl and they spent a lot of picks on that. And that’s what we were saying last year — ‘We love Carson, but we’ve played [five] playoff games and we’ve needed our backup quarterback in all of them. It’s too important of a position to not have that.’
“So I think that just thinking about where we were in that moment, I think it was the right thing to do. It was a hard decision, but it was the right thing to do.”
Hurts now has the opportunity to show he can be Philadelphia’s franchise quarterback, starting with Sunday’s game against the Falcons. Roseman touted Hurts’ leadership while also noting Hurts has the skillset to be successful.
“We had seen him throughout his career as the SEC offensive player of the year as a freshman, he continued to do that in the Big 12 when he went to Oklahoma — he was the runner up [to Joe Burrow] as a Heisman finalist,” Roseman said. “You got to see his leadership. But let’s not forget his skillset. And I think we drafted him in the second round not just because he’s a good person and he’s a good leader, but he’s a really good player. And when we looked at the guys who were successful in the National Football League and where the league was going, we took him because of those reasons — because of what kind of player he is.
“So at the end of the day, I think that we talk about Jalen and his leadership and what kind of person he is, which are really positive things. [But] the guy can play and he can win. So again, another person here, all of us have to prove it and show it and we’re excited about that. But certainly, he’s got a skill set that we’re excited about.”
Hurts was clearly going to be the Eagles’ starter entering the season, but new head coach Nick Sirianni took a while to make that official. Hurts has a good opportunity, but if he falters, the Eagles have the draft capital to find another option for 2022 and beyond.