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March 11, 2022

Eagles mailbag: NFC East quarterback draft, and which positions are strong in Round 2?

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031122DakPrescottCarsonWentz Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports

The NFC East's quarterbacks are... eh, not great.

In our Eagles chat on Wednesday, there were a lot of questions that we could not get to in time or other questions we did answer but could use more color. And so, let's do a mailbag post to answer some of the overflow, as well as some commonly asked questions on Twitter and via email.

Question from Priorities: Which positions of need for the Eagles have the best prospects in Round 2?

Round 1 is stacked with edge rusher talent. The Eagles should be able to get one there. I think it then thins out quite a bit once you get into the second half of the first round and into Round 2.

The second round looks like it could be strong at LB, DT, S, and TE.

Question from Bock: If the Birds don’t draft a LB on the first round, which is highly likely, are there quality LBs in the second round?

Yes, that's where you'll likely find guys like Christian Harris (Bama), Quay Walker (Georgia), and Chad Muma (Wyoming), among others. I don't know that any of those three guys will still be there at 51, but any of them would be good value there.

Question from Ross: If the Eagles sign someone like Zach Pascal in FA, do you see them taking a WR in the 1st round? Or are they content with DeVonta Smith, Pascal (or equivalent), and Quez Watkins as the top 3 WRs?

If they add a wide receiver in free agency (as I feel relatively certain they'll do), they still only have three playable receivers. So yes, if the right value is there in the first round or at some other early pick, I think a wide receiver is still in play.

Question from JJAW: Is Treylon Burks me but younger, with the same size and measurables?

They do have nearly identical heights and weights, and Arcega-Whiteside actually tested better at the Combine (lol), but no, they're very different players, in my opinion. Burks made a lot of impressive contested catches like JJAW did in college, but Burks' best quality is that he is a run-after-catch beast in the same mold as guys like A.J. Brown and Deebo Samuel.

I've also been asked if he is just a bigger version of Jalen Reagor. And again, no. Burks had 117 catches for 1924 yards and 18 TDs in only 21 games the last two seasons. He was Arkansas' best player, thus getting extra attention from opposing defenses, and he still produced. In Reagor's last season at TCU, he had 43 catches for 611 yards and 5 TDs, and people were willing to hand-waive that away by claiming that his quarterback stunk.

Question from Pragmatic: Would you take the big run stuffing DL from Georgia, Jordan Davis, in the first?

I would have been dead set against that prior to his ridiculous Combine performance, but now... you really have to consider it.

The term "unicorn" got thrown around a ton last year with Kyle Pitts, in that TE's rarely go top five, but he's such a rare talent that you're willing to make an exception. We'll probably start to hear that "unicorn" term being used for Davis because of his absurd combination of size and athleticism.

Question from RKotite: In the NFC East, for QBs, where do both Jalen Hurts and Gardner Minshew rank? Like if you were having a QB-only draft in the NFC East, Dak goes No. 1, but at what number are Hurts and Minshew each taken?

So if we're basically using the USFL model of drafting all QBs in Round 1 of our NFC East draft, and I'm pretending to be generic "football guy general manager," I think it would go like so:

  1. Dak Prescott
  2. Carson Wentz
  3. Daniel Jones
  4. Jalen Hurts
  5. Gardner Minshew
  6. Taylor Heinicke
  7. Kyle Allen
  8. Cooper Rush

My personal big board would look like this:

  1. Dak Prescott
  2. Jalen Hurts
  3. Daniel Jones
  4. Gardner Minshew
  5. Taylor Heinicke
  6. Kyle Allen
  7. Cooper Rush

If I were picking eighth and didn't get any of those guys, I'd say "OK, I quit," and then I'd grab my jacket and just leave the draft room.

Question from Hinkie: Am I wrong in thinking even if you added an elite QB to this roster, the Eagles are probably still far from winning a ring? Anything can happen, and they have nice pieces, but there are a lot of holes on this roster. I know they made the playoffs last year but that felt more by fortune (beating bad teams) and overperforming then actually being... well, good.

If you add an elite quarterback to this roster, they're Super Bowl contenders instantaneously, in my opinion, in a weak conference. Is it a perfect roster? Of course not. Far from it. But name any team in the NFL that has an elite quarterback, and you can pick apart all kinds of holes in their rosters as well.

The elite quarterback equips you to beat some of the good teams you couldn't beat a year ago.

Question from DB: Do you think Las Vegas keeps Derek Carr? Seems like a good time to move on, if the franchise wants a fresh start.

I don't speak Josh McDaniels as fluently as I speak Howie when these guys talk publicly, so it's hard for me to have a strong opinion on what's BS and what isn't, but from an outsider's view it does seem that he's in on Carr

Question from nceagles: What does the FA market look like for QBs next offseason? Could you see the Eagles trying to restock skill positions in the draft this year and trying to attract a top passer once they have more pieces in place?

There are nice handful of big names scheduled to be free agents. They are Kyler Murray, Lamar Jackson, Derek Carr, Matthew Stafford, Jimmy Garoppolo, Kirk Cousins, Baker Mayfield, and Daniel Jones. Some of those guys will sign extensions with their respective teams. But if not:

• The Cardinals will exercise their fifth-year option on Murray if a deal doesn't get done by May. The Giants may do the same with Jones.

• The Ravens won't let a player as talented as Jackson get away for nothing if it comes to that. He'd get tagged before they'd let him walk. The same probably goes for Carr and Stafford. And then any interested teams would have to try to trade for them.

• Assuming Garoppolo gets dealt this offseason, a new deal will very likely accompany a trade. So that leaves guys like Cousins and Mayfield. If they have great seasons, then again, the tag could be applied to them if their teams wanted to keep them or at least salvage their value. If they have bad seasons, well, you wouldn't want to sign them anyway.

I guess I took a long road here to say that good starting quarterbacks almost never make it to free agency.

Question from Mondor: Do you think Minshew's trade value has gone up with the QB weirdness that's happened over the past month? What do you think the ceiling is for return if he's traded (any chance of someone's compensatory 4th)?

I think we all agree that he's a good backup, right? I don't think that even his biggest fans view Minshew as a long-term answer as a starter. I do think there are some who like him as a starting "bridge" quarterback who can keep your team competitive while you transition to another quarterback, like a high rookie draft pick.

What's that worth? I would say something like a 4. Maybe you can squeeze something more out of a team that thinks it's a contender and is going to have their regular starter on the shelf with an injury for a couple months.

Question from Pragmatic: I know the Dallas TE had a good season... I thought it was odd he got tagged? Any other tagged/not tagged surprise you?

Tagging tight ends is pretty cheap. I can't kill them for that one. I was more surprised that the Browns tagged David Njoku.

The dumbest move came via the Jaguars, who tagged LT Cam Robinson at $16.7 million.

Question from Game Blouses: Apologies if you’ve addressed this before… with the benefit of hindsight, was Alshonymous right after all?

He griped about Zach Ertz getting too many targets, the offense being too complicated, and the failure to trade for Jalen Ramsey. He criticized Wentz, Doug, and Howie, not just Wentz, and the criticism was self-serving. It's not like he said, "Wentz stinks," and we can go back and say, "Welp, he saw it before everyone else!" 

The one thing he was at least partially right about was that Wentz didn't take checkdowns. I would argue that he was just bad at checking it down and often couldn't hit the layup throws.

But ultimately, it's not about whether whatever he said was right or wrong. You can't be going to some thirsty reporter looking for an inflammatory quote and creating a big distraction in the middle of a season when you're supposed to be Super Bowl contenders.

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