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March 28, 2022

Eagles mailbag: Ranking the NFC starting quarterbacks

Eagles NFL
032522JalenHurts Nathan Ray Seebeck/USA TODAY Sports

Jalen Hurts

In our Eagles chat on Saturday that was interrupted by the Kyzir White signing, 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 Eric B: Rank the quarterbacks in the NFC and then tell me the Eagles should replace Jalen Hurts. I'll wait.

Thank you for waiting, lol. Anyway, here you go: 

1) Aaron Rodgers, Packers: Reigning MVP.

2) Tom Brady, Buccaneers: Probably the best player in NFL history.

3) Matthew Stafford, Rams: Reigning Super Bowl champ.

4) Dak Prescott, Cowboys: Has he already reached his ceiling? If so, it's as a borderline top 10-12 quarterback.

5) Kyler Murray, Cardinals: Talented, but erratic. Immaturity is a bright red flag.

6) Kirk Cousins, Vikings: Empty stats dork who folds in big games.

7) Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers: Short game is decent, he's had some postseason runs, and his teammates love him, but just not that talented.

8) Daniel Jones, Giants: Talented, but turnover-prone. In fairness, he plays for a garbage franchise.

9) Justin Fields, Bears: Physically gifted with size, athleticism, and a big arm. He had a bad rookie season on a bad team, and may never amount to anything, but his upside is more appealing than Hurts'.

10) Jalen Hurts, Eagles: Love his intangibles and running ability, but throwing the football in the NFL is kind of a big deal.

11) Jared Goff, Lions: From here on out, it's all guys whose original teams have given up on them. Goff is a system QB.

12) Carson Wentz, Commanders: Big guy, big arm, but an awful decision maker and not a leader.

13) Marcus Mariota, Falcons: Bridge quarterback.

14) Jameis Winston, Saints: INT machine.

15) Drew Lock, Seahawks: Guess here is that he won't start for the Seahawks Week 1.

16) Sam Darnold, Panthers: Guess here is that he won't start for the Panthers Week 1.

So I have Hurts 10th in a conference loaded up with unappealing quarterbacks. If you put him up against the AFC quarterbacks, he'd be, uh, lower. League-wide, he's probably juuuust within the top 25, in my opinion. In summary, I'm not sure this exercise had the effect on me you thought it might.

Question from Nick: Is Hurts the first player in NFL history to have no chance of improving? I kid, I kid, but do you think being with the same coordinator in consecutive seasons for the first time since high school will help?

I rather admire Hurts' desire to be great. I think he works very hard at his craft, and I think we saw improvement from his rookie year into his second year. I have no questions at all about how he conducts himself and I think he's doing everything he can to be the best quarterback he can be.

I think that being in the same system for another year will help him in terms of quicker decision making, but it's not going to correct his accuracy or overall arm talent.

Question from Mike: In the "mock draft roundups" that you have posted, nobody ever mocks a quarterback to the Eagles. What is your take on that?

It's funny you ask that, because I meant to touch on that in the last mock draft roundup, but forgot.

Locally, I think we view anything that the team says skeptically, because well, they lie, lol. Not that there's anything wrong with that, to be clear. The team should say publicly what they think is in the best interests of the team, and sometimes that means they'll lie.

Nationally, folks tend to take what teams say at face value.

When the Eagles emphatically said that Hurts is their guy, I believe that on a national level, that was simply accepted as Bible, which is just kind of funny to me. The reality is that the Eagles tried to trade for two different quarterbacks this offseason, and may have had some level of interest in others. That should tell you all you need to know. The Eagles would upgrade on Hurts, if given the chance.

I have no idea whether the Eagles like any of the projected first-round quarterbacks in this draft. If they don't, they won't take one. If they do really like one or more of them, you better believe that they'll pull the trigger on them if given the opportunity.

Question from Shablagoo: It seems like the NFC East as a whole got worse this off-season, and I don't like the run it back mentality by the Eagles. They were an average team beating bad teams and backup QBs in 2021, so there's no reason to run it back. Do you feel like they could regress this year and end up a bottom 10 team or are they still good enough to be a playoff contender?

So, I'll disagree somewhat that they intended to "run it back." They tried to take some big swings at quarterback, but never got into the running because those quarterbacks didn't want to play here. They also tried unsuccessfully to make a splash at wide receiver, but for varying reasons could not get it done. 

So I don't think they're sitting back and saying, "Yep, this roster is juuuuust how we want it." They've tried to make things happen. They just whiffed.

There's still a lot of time between now and September. If the intent to take some big swings was there the last few weeks, maybe it will continue to be there between now and Week 1.

Question from Freddie's hands: So why can Derek Barnett hurry the QB but not sack him?

I hate "hurries" as a stat, as it's extremely subjective. Plus, we already have a stat for almost sacking the quarterback but not quite getting there in time. It's called "QB hits," and it isn't anywhere near as subjective.

You know how many QB hits Barnett had last season? 11.

You know how many NFL players had more than 11 QB hits last season? 80. 

Question from Bula: Jimmy, any word on the financials of Barnett's contract? Should we just assume that it's probably a gross overpay?

You should not assume that.

When you see the financials of deals very quickly after signings, they're almost always leaked by agents who are proud of the work they have done for their client. When you don't see the financials, it's usually a pretty good indicator that the player did not get a lucrative deal.

Question from Buddy Ball: Don't we need to see a contract to judge a signing? Loads of people are piling on Howie for the Barnett signing but there's a dollar amount that it becomes a great signing, right?


Question from RBHeadge: The Eagles always seem to draft an offensive lineman. How much pull does Jeff Stoutland have with the draft compared with the other positional coaches?

I think they trust his opinion on players more than any other positional coach on the team. He might be the most trusted positional coach the team has had in recent memory. He's a regular at pro day workouts, he conducts private workouts, and he even runs drills at the NFL Combine. They drafted Andre Dillard and Jordan Mailata partly because Stoutland stamped his approval on them. 

Question from Bob from Mayfair: Does Kyzir White start in the base D?

As the roster currently stands, yes, I would pencil him in alongside T.J. Edwards at the two off-ball linebacker spots.

Question from Hmm: How does Kyzir White compare to the Jatavis Brown signing? They’re both fairly young LBs from the Chargers.

They're also both undersized. Way back in April of 2020, I did a deep dive on Brown, and concluded that he wasn't good, ha. I think he was more of a flyer the Eagles took on a player who had shown something earlier in his career. As it turned out, he retired a couple weeks into training camp.

I'll eventually do a deep dive on White as well, so I'll reserve my stronger opinions until that time, but he's a player who is coming off his best season, as opposed to Brown, who was coming off his worst.

Question from Nbruens: Hey Jimmy! Since we just signed Kyzir White, is he the new “Corey Nelson free agent linebacker who gets cut by week 5” candidate.

Let's do a quick recap! I think we can call it the Corey Nelson Award.

• 2018: Paul Worrilow tore his ACL during OTAs.

• 2018: Corey Nelson got released a few weeks into training camp.

• 2019: L.J. Fort got released less than one month into the season.

• 2019: Zach Brown got released in October, after he talked trash about Kirk Cousins, who subsequently lit up the Eagles' defense.

• 2020: Jatavis Brown retired about a couple weeks into Eagles training camp.

• 2021: Eric Wilson was waived after just eight games.

I do like White's chances of breaking the cycle.

Question from Bob: Any interest in Baker Mayfield? The Eagles could probably get him for less than what the Commanders paid for Wentz.

I would have zero interest in Mayfield. He wanted out the second the Browns showed any interest in Deshaun Watson. I do agree that the Browns will get less for him than what the Colts got for Wentz. But I'll take Hurts over him all day.

Question from Taco J: When talking about the draft you always stress BPA. But when you see a mock draft that has us taking CB Stingley you keep saying that a) we have a boatload of young, unproven guys at that position and b) it’s not that big of a need in Jonathan Gannon’s system.

As seen with picking Jalen Reagor, we shouldn’t listen to the coaching staff, but focus on picking good players. For all we know, this is Gannon’s last year and the next DC has a system that puts more stress on good CB play.

So, aren’t you contradicting yourself in the case of picking a CB high in this draft?

So, for the sake of accuracy, here's what I said in the last mock roundup in which Stingley appeared as the Eagles' pick: 

We didn't have the Eagles taking a cornerback, at all, in our mock draft 4.0. I believe it's an overstated need. They have their No. 1 in Darius Slay, and their slot corner in Avonte Maddox. They also drafted a player they really like in Zech McPhearson who didn't get to play much in 2021 because the Eagles had a very rare healthy season from the corners. But then they also added a slew of young guys like Tay Gowan, Mac McCain, Josiah Scott, and Kary Vincent.

If a corner is at the top of the Eagles' board when they're picking, they could very well take him. Maybe that'll happen with a guy like Stingley. I don't know. But my sense is that the Eagles want to get a look at the young guys already on their roster, and if after minicamps and OTAs (or later down the road in training camp) they're not encouraged by what they see, they can add a competent one-year Band-Aid veteran at that time, much like they did with Steven Nelson last offseason.

Personally, I'm with you. If Stingley is sitting there and he's the best player on the board, by all means, go get him. I just think it's a position that they are not going to prioritize in the draft.

Question from SteadPA: Is there any chance that anyone on stage at the Masked Singer knew who Jordan Mailata was even after he was announced?

Haha, that was my immediate thought as soon as I saw the reveal. In our world, Jordan Mailata is something of an "A list" celebrity. To these people on the show — and to the common couch potato in, say, Iowa — he's just some enormous guy they know absolutely nothing about. 

Question from SnailWhale: Jordan Mailata is such an amazing, wholesome football story! He’ll probably get a movie made about him. He’s a great singer, and he’s a great left tackle. My question is with him being so talented outside of football do you think him might parlay his notoriety into a different profession and hang up the cleats earlier than we expect?

He's obviously very late to the game of football, but the vibe that I get is that he loves it. You'd almost have to love it to ascend to the kind of player he has become in such a short amount of time. So no, I don't think he'll be quitting football anytime soon.

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