Eagles

2020 NFL Draft: Eagles draft Oklahoma QB Jalen Hurts in 53rd pick

2020 NFL Draft: Eagles draft Oklahoma QB Jalen Hurts in 53rd pick

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.

More on the Eagles

Doug Pederson hints at big role for Greg Ward Jr. with Eagles this season  

Doug Pederson hints at big role for Greg Ward Jr. with Eagles this season  

Greg Ward Jr. became a great story for the Eagles last season, when he began the year on the practice squad and ended up being their best receiver down the stretch. 

But is he more than a good story? 

Doug Pederson seems to think so. 

The one thing now as he goes into this season, he's in that rotation, in that starting mix for us,” Pederson said on a Zoom call with reporters Wednesday. “It's just a matter of him embracing every day, getting better. Being a former quarterback, he understands our offense. Being in our offense, he knows the concepts and the routes. He and Carson (Wentz) have a really good feel for one another.

“I think for him now it's just a matter of continuing to get better each and every day and putting in the work. We expect some really big things from Greg. He can also be a leader. He can be a leader of that group. Him and DeSean Jackson, Alshon Jeffery, these guys, they can be leaders now and mentors to these young players.

In one year’s time, Ward has gone from practice squad player to being a leader in a wide receiver room that includes three draft picks, an undrafted rookie and a second-year draft pick. 

Ward, 25, is technically in Year 4 of his NFL career but he didn’t get a chance to play until the 2019 season and even then he didn’t play until November. 

Ward finished last season with 28 catches for 254 yards and a game-winning touchdown in a huge contest against Washington. 

Maybe Ward will never become a star player in the NFL, but he’s sure-handed, dependable and earned the trust of his quarterback and coaching staff last season. 

If you look at the Eagles’ group of receivers, Ward is probably the top candidate to win the slot job. DeSean Jackson is going to be the starting Z receiver and at the X the Eagles have Alshon Jeffery and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. Rookie 1st-round pick Jalen Reagor is learning both outside spots. 

Eventually, could Reagor play in the slot? Absolutely. In fact, I’d love to see him in there because he’d bring an explosiveness to the position that Ward probably can’t offer. 

But Ward is going to play a lot in 2020. He’s going to have a chance to become more than a great story. 

Subscribe and rate the Eagle Eye podcast: 
Apple Podcasts / Google Play / Stitcher / Spotify / Art19



Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles

Eagles activate Jordan Mailata from Reserve/COVID-19 list

Eagles activate Jordan Mailata from Reserve/COVID-19 list

The entire Eagles roster will finally be back together on Thursday after the team activated Jordan Mailata from the Reserve/COVID-19 list. 

Mailata was the last remaining player on the list. And head coach Doug Pederson also returned to the NovaCare Complex yesterday after his positive COVID-19 test. 

Back on July 29, the Eagles placed Lane Johnson, Nathan Gerry and Mailata on the list. The Reserve/COVID-19 list is for players who either test positive for the coronavirus or who have been exposed to someone who has. Only Johnson publicly announced he contracted the virus. 

Gerry was activated on Aug. 9, Johnson on Aug. 11 and Mailata today. 

The Eagles have not put any other players on the Reserve/COVID-19 list since those original three back in July. 

This is a big season for Mailata, the 23-year-old former rugby player. He’s entering Year 3 in the NFL and has obviously been a project player. 

Earlier this offseason, offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland said he couldn’t give a real answer as to whether or not Mailata goes from project to legitimate backup in 2020, but he has seen some good signs. 

“I can say this: In the meetings that we have, the virtual meetings, he was a completely different guy in the meetings,” Stoutland said. “And, you’re going to say, ‘What do you mean by that?’ His confidence level. Because we require these guys to know a lot and to be able to convert blocking schemes and calls. Completely, completely different in the meeting. 

“Now, will that carry over to the field? Every morning when I come here I pray that’s what will happen. Do I think that will happen? Absolutely. But I can’t guarantee that. We’re going to find out, though. That’s what this is all about. And if it does carry over then we got action. We’re going to be in good shape.”

While Mailata missed over two weeks, he missed just one practice day. The Eagles were finally allowed to practice on Aug. 12. So Mailata will get the rest of the non-padded practices under his belt before the pads come on next Monday. 

Subscribe and rate the Eagle Eye podcast: 
Apple Podcasts / Google Play / Stitcher / Spotify / Art19



Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles