TIME WILL TELL IF THE JALEN HURTS PICK WAS A GOOD ONE
If there is one thing that is true about professional sports, it’s a world that shows no mercy. It is a business that does care very much about a player’s feelings.
Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts got a little taste of that Friday night when the Eagles selected the 6-foot-2, 218-pounder with the No. 53 overall pick in the draft.
The Eagles choice sent off shock waves not only through Eagles Nation, but the entire NFL community. The Eagles have a franchise quarterback in Carson Wentz. His just 27 years old. When healthy, he was a league MVP candidate.
During his video conference call, Hurts was asked if he was surprised, and what do he think his role will be with the Eagles. And does he have concerns he won’t play for a while? Hurts resisted answering either question.
“I think it's just a great opportunity, and I'm blessed,” said Hurts, who played his first three years of college football at Alabama appearing in the College Football Playoffs every year. “I'm blessed to have this opportunity coming where I come from. Not many people from my area do that. I'm just looking forward to it. I'm looking forward to going to work.”
Eagles Vice President/General manager Howie Roseman was asked if picking Hurts could spark potential controversy and create that potential dynamic around Wentz.
“Well, obviously we looked at this from all angles, and we didn't think this was much different than when we brought Nick Foles in, the amount of money we gave Nick Foles as a backup quarterback in 2017 and then bringing him back in 2018,” Roseman said. “And I bring up Nick because Jalen is that kind of teammate. He obviously had to take a backseat to Tua [Tagovailoa] in Alabama for a little bit and we're in a situation where we brought Nate Sudfeld back, and Nate has been very clear that he wants an opportunity to go lead a team. So we kind of looked at the future of our football team and said we keep getting in this situation and we keep kind of putting in resources, and to get a guy in here that can be in the system and learn and grow, that to us, it's worth its weight in gold. That position, that room, we want good people in it. That room, we want to be a strong room, and we know what kind of person this guy is. We know what kind of support he'll throw behind our starter, and again, that's our priorities. Our priorities are that, and most importantly that quarterback position.”
Eagles head coach Doug Pederson was asked about the evolution of offensive football and how the game is changing, Saints QB Taysom Hill in New Orleans, even Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh talked about putting two quarterbacks on the field at one time. Does he see a unique skill set that would let you open up the offense in any way?
“With Jalen Hurts, he has a unique skill set,” Pederson said. “You see what Taysom Hill has done in New Orleans and now he and Drew Brees have a connection there and a bond there, and you even look at -- when [Joe] Flacco and [Ravens QB] Lamar [Jackson] in Baltimore for the short period of time, how they gelled together. It's just something we're going to explore. I want to make a point here first and foremost that Jalen Hurts is a good quarterback, and he was drafted as a quarterback and he's a quarterback first, but he has a unique skill set that he's a great runner. Obviously, he throws well on the run. He has a unique set of skills that we're going to take a look at as we keep developing this off-season and this advancement, so to speak, as we get ready for training camp.”
Hurts was asked If the Eagles asked him to be on the field but not as the primary quarterback, would he be open to some sort of other role? Is that something he thinks he would handle well? Again Hurts would not budge and inch to let anyone know how he really feels.
“Right now, I'm just excited about this opportunity and this moment,” said Hurts, who after transferring to Oklahoma, led the Sooners to the College Football playoffs. “I'm just excited about it all, and I'm just ready to go to work.”
It would seem obvious, the Eagles want Hurts to get into the Eagles locker room, meet his teammates and learn about the Eagles culture first hand.
There is no doubt that Eagles players such as Brandon Graham, Jason Kelce, Fletcher Cox, Rodney McLeod, Brandon Brooks plus other leaders would get Hurts to buy into the Eagles culture and use his considerable gifts to help the Birds win another Super Bowl.
That is going to be a challenge with the COVID-19 coronavirus keeping all 32 teams from using their facilities until it is safe to return.
Your guess is as good as any when that is going to happen. *
Follow Al Thompson @thompsoniii