Should they stick with Jalen Hurts or draft a quarterback?
The immediate future of franchising depends on their success. And the scary thing is that they can’t know.
Howie Roseman, Nick Sirianni, and the rest of the Eagles’ brains have no way of sitting down there in the NovaCare complex and deciding with some degree of certainty what they have in Hurts.
After 3 1/2 matches? Playing behind that offensive line and those receivers? In an offense where the racing game was virtually non-existent?
No one can rate Hurts beyond that: there were times he looked really, really good and times he looked really, really bad.
Like any young quarterback.
It is not enough to continue.
Ty Detmer, Kevin Kolb and Bobby Hoying were an 8-3-1 combined with 18 TDs and 9 TDs in their first four career starts. They were 15-32-1 with 61 touchdowns and 68 touchdowns for the rest of their careers.
Conversely, Randall Cunningham and Donovan McNabb were a 2-6 combined with 6 TDs and 10 INTs in their first four starts. But we all know how their careers went after that.
No one knows after four games.
But literally, any team that has a top 10 pick and doesn’t have an established quarterback is going to consider writing one up. You have to. This is where you find guys like Peyton Manning, Josh Allen, or Pat Mahomes.
There are always exceptions. Drew Brees was a 2nd round pick. Russell Wilson was a 3. We all know Tom Brady was a 6.
But your best chance at nailing a QB franchise is in the first round. High in the first round.
There have been 58 QB Pro Bowls drafted since 2000. Almost half (28) have been drawn in the top 12 picks. Three were drawn later in the 1st round, six in the 2nd round, four in the 3rd round, four in the 4th round, then 13 at various places in the 5th round and beyond or not drafted.
Round 2 is the second place most likely to find an elite QB, and the top 12 picks are almost five times more likely.
And the Eagles choose at No.6.
And this is only the third time in the past 20 years that they have had a top six pick and only the sixth time in 45 years. And we know they see themselves as a Quarterback Factory.
So these chances don’t come along very often.
This is what makes this decision so difficult.
If you take a wide receiver or a corner or whatever at No.6 and go with Hurts, maybe you win a Super Bowl with him at some point, but remember, Brees, Brett Favre and Ken Stabler are the only 2nd round picks to ever win a Super Bowl.
And if Hurts isn’t that guy, who knows when your next opportunity will come to pick this level? The Eagles did not draft in the top 10 between Corey Simon in 2000 and Lane Johnson in 2013.
Maybe Hurts is horrible and you come back to it in 2022 and spot your quarterback. Maybe he’s elite and you don’t have to worry about him for a decade.
It is the huge middle ground that is so disturbing. He’s good enough to keep you competitive but not good enough to win anything.
Then you are stuck outside the top 10 with no QB franchise.
Now recruiting a guy from the top picks is also a risk. No one knows if Justin Fields or Zach Wilson or Trey Lance will be The Guy either. No one needs to remember Ryan Leaf, Heath Shuler or Akili Smith.
But choose early in the 1st round and you have history on your side.
The Eagles really put themselves in a ridiculous position last April. Drafting Hurts sparked a series of events that plunged the team’s most important position into chaos.
And all they can do now is guess what they have and guess what they need. They can’t afford to be wrong.
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