By Dylan MacKinnon
I doubt there will much to debate with my last 3 articles on the Eagles needs. no one is going to seriously argue the Eagles don’t need a cornerback, a linebacker, or a defensive end. But when we discuss the quarterback things can get a bit controversial. One of the biggest arguments amongst Eagles fans and media alike will be if Jalen Hurts is the QB of the future, or someone who needs to be replaced.
According to Howie Roseman, he will be here next year. But Howie said similar things about Carson Wentz. In fact what Howie said was pretty much the only thing he could say. Because even if the Eagles are looking to upgrade the position they cant say that until they actually do. And whether it is Adam Schefter when he joins the John Kincade Show, Tim McManus when he joins the Mike Missanelli show, or any of the other insiders when they come onto the Fanatic. They all indicate that at the very least the Eagles are keeping an eye on the QB market. And while that doesn’t mean they will make a move, it means it is very possible they will at least try.
But should they? Should they keep Hurts? Trade for a proven veteran? Draft someone this year? or gear up for next years QB class? Let’s take a look at the Eagles need at the QB position, and if it exists at all.
The Case for Hurts
I will start with the case for keeping Hurts. To start, he is extremely dynamic with his legs. He led the Eagles in TDs without counting any of his passing TDs. Hurts scored 10 touchdowns for the Eagles on the ground. That was first among QBS, and 8th amongst all NFL players. He also had 56 first downs running the ball. That was also first among QBs, and 7th among NFL players.
I feel its also important to mention the IQ he showed while running the ball. There was not a fumbling issue which you can often see with mobile QBs, and that partly goes into how he smartly avoids contact. We all love to see a guy fight through contact to get that extra yard. But we stop loving that when its the QB and going for the extra yard gets them hurt. Hurts takes what he can get, but is smart enough to slide or get out of bounds before a the defender gets the chance to kill him. That level of awareness may cost him a couple yards here and there, but it will also keep him healthy. And him staying healthy gets him way more yards in the long run. This sis something that both Carson Wentz and Mike Vick never figured out here, and it caused problems for them here.
But perhaps more important than what he does with his legs is his leadership. He genuinely seems to have the respect and admiration of all the guys he plays with. That may seem simple, but we know from recent experience what it is like when that is not the case. All we hear from how Hurts is perceived in that locker room is that he is loved as a leader. By all regards Hurts is everything you want your franchise QB to be as a man. The question is if you like what he is on the field. And that brings us to the case against him.
The Case Against Jalen Hurts
Unfortunately Hurts has so far fallen short when it comes to being able to throw the ball. This is where he falls among his fellow NFL QBs. 21st in yards, 23rd in tds, 15th in YPA, 26th in completion rate, and 19th in QBR. And perhaps more concerning is there did not seem to be much improvement in his arm or his accuracy from the few games he played the year before.
Jalen Hurts QBR inside pocket— Paul Hembekides (@PaulHembo) January 21, 2022
Whenever this offense was called upon to throw the ball, the Eagles would fall short. Just take this last game where the Bucs eliminated them. The Eagles run game was mostly shutdown, and it fell on Hurts to put up points. And he couldn’t do it. At least not until garbage time when the game was well out of reach. When asked to throw passes over 10 yards vs the Bucs, he completed 22% of his passes.
Its hard to come up with something he does at a high level with his arm. His deep ball is below average right now. Too often the ball just is just too soft and because of that it does not get to where it needs to be. And to go with that he is often late with his decisions. We saw it vs the Bucs. Smith was open for a TD. A well thrown ball, and Eagles are only down 17-7 going into the half, and get the ball to start the second half. Instead, he is late, and underthrows the ball too. So it gets picked off, and Eagles go into the locker room down 17. It was a poorly timed pass, and a bad throw as well. He turned 7 pts into a turnover. And that was not a one time incident. It was a reoccurring problem.
I have a hard time complimenting any part of his game as a passer. I haven’t even mentioned how often he fails to notice guys who are open. Can he improve? I mean sure. But he has tio improve in almost every aspect of the game when it comes to actually throwing the ball. He is just not consistent enough. There are too many games where he you got nothing out of his arm.
Options if They Move on
If the Eagles do want to move on, there are many options. There are three high end QBs who could eventually be on the QB Market. Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, and Deshaun Watson. Now for me, I am completely out on Deshaun Watson given the allegations against him. Eagles may not be, but I am. As for Rodgers and Wilson, the question is not do the eagles have interest, but if those players do Eagles have the assets to be involved in any trade.
With 3 first round picks they could also draft several guys. The name you will most often hear is Kenny Pickett from Pitt. Howie Roseman personally attended a game to scout both Pickett and Liberty’s Malik Willis. That doesn’t mean that Howie would take one of them, but it at least means there is a chance.
Another name that some have attached to the Eagles is Derek Carr. The Raiders will have a new GM, and a new coach (provided they don’t make Interim Head Coach Rich Bisaccia the permanent coach). Carr is a solid if not great NFL QB. His arm is certainly an improvement over what Hurts currently is, but he is also not above questioning.
There is very little known about what the Eagles will do at QB this offseason. they have committed to Hurts for now, but that could change as early as tomorrow. If the option arises to trade for a true top end QB, Howie could certainly take it. And if Howie likes one of these QBs in the draft he could certainly pick them. He could also decide to stick with Hurts. But if that is the choice, Hurts has a lot of work to do this offseason. because the one think I do know is what he did this year was not good enough. There is enough there to make the argument he deserves another year. But there is also enough there to argue they need a better option at QB.