Updated 9:25 p.m.
In a truly shocking move, the Eagles have selected Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts with the No. 53 pick in the NFL draft.
Um … what?!?!
With plenty of weapons available for Carson Wentz and with plenty of viable defensive options who would help from Day 1, the Eagles instead took a developmental quarterback.
This is a true head-scratcher.
The Eagles signed Wentz to a $128 million extension last summer. Sure, Wentz has struggled to stay healthy, but the Eagles have been building around Wentz. And instead of taking a player to help Wentz, they brought in a guy who might only play a lot if Wentz is hurt. But if the Eagles don’t have confidence in Wentz’s ability to stay healthy, then why sign him? Why make him the centerpiece of the entire team?
Doug Pederson will probably find a way to get the athletic rookie quarterback on the field with Wentz but that’s still a strange reason to pick him. This could theoretically add a new dimension to the Eagles’ offense but without OTAs, that’s a lot to cram into training camp.
The Eagles also have Nate Sudfeld on the roster as a backup quarterback as well. But you would assume a second-round quarterback won’t be a third-stringer.
Just last year, the Eagles drafted quarterback Clayton Thorson in the fifth round out of Northwestern and he didn’t even make it past final cuts and ended up on the Cowboys’ practice squad.
As for Hurts (6-1, 222), the former Alabama and Oklahoma is certainly athletic. Check out his measurements from the combine:
In his one season at Oklahoma, Hurts threw for 3,851 yards with 32 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. He also had 233 carries for 1,298 yards and 20 touchdowns on the ground. That part of his game might be able to translate in certain packages in the NFL in 2020.
But he’s also definitely a project.
Before last year, Hurts was the starter at Alabama in 2016-17 before he was replaced by Tua Tagovailoa. He remained in Alabama for the entire 2018 season as a backup and handled the whole situation with great class.
At the combine in February, Hurts addressed the adversity he faced in college.
“All of it. All of it made me better,” Hurts said. “All of it has made me stronger, a better man, a wiser man. A better leader. Again, in two programs, it’s tough. To having to adjust to different players and just being respected to where every team I’ve been on has followed me regardless of the position of where I came from.”
There’s no question that he’s an athletic and intriguing athlete. But it doesn’t make this pick any less strange.