After trading Carson Wentz last month, the Eagles are faced with another franchise-altering decision.
Do they roll with Jalen Hurts or do they draft another quarterback with the No. 6 pick?
It’s not an easy question to answer and it’s one that will potentially change the trajectory of the franchise. It’s one they can’t really afford to get wrong.
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NBC Sports’ analyst and former NFL quarterback Chris Simms joined us on the Eagle Eye podcast Tuesday and I had the chance to ask him what he would do if he was in charge of the Eagles.
“I would probably take that gamble (on drafting a quarterback),” Simms said. “I probably would. I never evaluated Jalen Hurts through my process — and I know he’s a fine young man and he’s got charisma and leadership skills and all that — but there’s just nothing that I ever saw that led me to think he’s an NFL starting quarterback. And I don’t like saying that about a young kid and, listen, I hope he proves me wrong. And if he proves me wrong, I’ll be on here to go, ‘Way to go, Jalen Hurts, you made Chris Simms look like a dumb idiot, way to go.’ I hope that’s the case, I do.
“But I think, all in all, I probably would be seriously thinking about the quarterback and the draft route. I would. I’m very impressed with the top guys I’ve seen in the draft. I really am. There’s five or six guys that I look at and I go, ‘These guys are NFL starting quarterbacks and they can be something in the league for sure.’ So that possibility is there.”
Simms also acknowledged that drafting a quarterback and keeping Hurts on the roster might end up putting a lot of pressure on that rookie quarterback. Simms could see a scenario where that rookie struggles and some fans start calling for Hurts based on what they saw in 2020.
“But my money would bet more on the more time goes and the more he plays, and the more people figure out his tendencies and his inability maybe to stretch the field in all areas of the pass game, that [Hurts] will look less and less like a passing quarterback,” Simms said. “That would be my thought right now. And that’s why Howie Roseman and some of those guys are getting paid a lot of money. They gotta figure out that situation.”
To be clear, Simms said Hurts actually exceeded his expectations as a passer last year but he still sees him as below average in this area.
Hurts, 22, made just four starts in 2020 and he started and finished just three total games. So there’s not a huge body of work to use to figure out whether or not he can be the guy. Simms has always consistently said he didn’t really like the Hurts pick.
And it doesn’t seem like Hurts did anything in his limited action in 2020 to change Simms’ mind.
“There’s still a lot of work that needs to be done there,” Simms said. “He’s still certainly a below average thrower in NFL terms. Now, his athletic ability and the threat he brings to the run game and things like that, that can simplify defenses and I’m not saying he needs to be Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers and pick defenses apart and all of that too. But I think, all in all, my grand thought would be, I would be shocked if the Eagles went into 2021 and the Eagles were like, ‘Hey, Jalen Hurts, you’re the guy. We’re going all in on you.’ He did not prove that to me at this point.”
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