Over the next four weeks, we’ll be counting down the 20 most important Eagles for the 2020 season.
20. Nate Sudfeld
We start off the countdown with a player the Eagles hope doesn’t see the field at all this season. But delicately side-stepping the “Carson Wentz/injury prone discussion” the fact remains that the Eagles haven’t had their starting quarterback on the field to end their season in each of the last three years.
The backup quarterback is an important position. And even though the Eagles used their second-round pick on Jalen Hurts, Sudfeld is still expected to be the second-stringer for this upcoming season.
The crazy thing is that Sudfeld was supposed to be the backup quarterback in 2019 too, but he broke his non-throwing wrist in the summer. (It was the first broken bone ever for Sudfeld.) That led to the Eagles’ signing Josh McCown and McCown probably wasn’t coming out of retirement to eventually be a third-string quarterback, so he kept the job all season. So if Sudfeld didn’t get hurt in the summer, it would have been him out there finishing off the Seattle playoff game and who knows what would have happened. We’ll never know.
There are plenty of reasons to like Sudfeld, but the 26-year-old just hasn’t played that much in the NFL. He has a total of 25 career passing attempts under his belt.
The good news is that Sudfeld certainly looks the part. He’s 6-foot-6, has a big arm, can move well in and out of the pocket and has been here now for three full seasons so he should have a tremendous grasp on the playbook and Doug Pederson’s offensive philosophy.
But we just don’t know. It’s impossible to know.
For their part, the Eagles have always shown confidence in Sudfeld. They brought him into the building in 2017 after he spent one year with the Redskins, who drafted him in the sixth round out of Indiana. And in 2017 when the Colts came calling, the Eagles promoted him to the active roster so they wouldn’t lose him.
In 2017 and 2018 when Wentz went down with injuries, the Eagles never signed another backup behind Nick Foles. If anything happened to Foles during the Super Bowl run a few years ago, the season would have been on Sudfeld’s shoulders. That’s a lot of confidence to show in a young player.
The Eagles signed Sudfeld to a one-year, $2 million deal this offseason but are clearly planning to move on after this season. Sudfeld wants to find a situation where he can compete for a starting job — we’ll see if that happens — and the Eagles didn’t draft Hurts to be their long-term third-stringer.
But for the 2020 season? Sudfeld is a really important player, but the Eagles hope he doesn’t get in.
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