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April 25, 2020

NFL Draft Day 2 Grades: What do experts think of Eagles picking Jalen Hurts and Davion Taylor?

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Jalen-Hurts-Dive_042520_usat Jason Getz/USA TODAY Sports

What are the Eagles plans for Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Jalen Hurts?

The Eagles shocked the football world on Friday night when — instead of, you know, addressing an area of need — they used their second-round pick (53rd overall) on Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts despite the fact that they just signed Carson Wentz to a massive contract last offseason. 

If you were left scratching your head after the pick, you weren't the only one

Perhaps the only think more disturbing than the pick itself or what it says about the Eagles' faith in Wentz (no matter what they about him publicly) were the answers given by Howie Roseman and Co. when they were asked about their decision to add a quarterback.

Aside from the fact that it seems like their goal is to groom Hurts into trade bait and possibly get — *checks notes* — a second-round pick in return, they also didn't address any areas of need, of which quarterback is not one. And getting a second-rounder back for Hurts is likely the best they can hope for in Roseman's "quarterback factory" dream.

Speaking of best-case scenario, perhaps the worst moment of the night came after the pick, when The Athletic's Sheil Kapadia asked Roseman flat out what he thinks the best-case scenario is here. His answer did not inspire confidence.

Here's the back-and-forth: 

Q. Starting with those guys, you kind of look at the upside and what they can bring over the course of their rookie contract. I think a question with Jalen Hurts is sort of the what is the best-case scenario with him over the next four years given that you do have Carson and you just paid him and he's obviously your starting quarterback? 

HOWIE ROSEMAN: I think when we look at the upside that this player has and the players he can learn from in that room with Nate and Carson this year and the coaching staff that we have, we think he's more valuable than the pick we took him at. And we think where the league is going, when he gets experience and coaching, he's going to be a valuable player, and for us that's our job is to acquire as many assets as we can and utilize them and also utilize them to get more value. So that's really what the draft is about. It's about value, it's about acquiring players that we think have high value, and really when you look at the quarterback position, there's nothing that has more value.

Andy said this, and I thought it was a great line: We've been the biggest beneficiaries in the National Football League over the last 20 years about doing that, about getting quarterbacks, getting them to play at a high level and then having the opportunity to also get value for them. So I think when you talk about what the ideal situation is, that's obviously winning Super Bowls with our starting quarterback, getting this kid up to speed, showing what kind of talent that we think he has, and that's a great situation for the Philadelphia Eagles, and that's certainly worth more than the pick that we took him at right now.

So, let me get this right... the Eagles are only acquiring Hurts to groom him, make him better and then ship him off to another team with the hope they get back something comparable to what it cost to acquire him in the first place? Why would you do another team's work for them, especially when the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is likely no more valuable than the gas money you spent getting there? 

There are no shortage of questions that will need to be answered about this pick, and the ones that were given late Friday night are certainly not going to suffice. If nothing else, the offseason just got a whole lot more interesting.

With Eagles fans going nuts over this pick, we figured it was as good a time as any to let you know that... you're actually right to be upset. 

Normally we try to talk you off the ledge, but if you look at the grades given for the Eagles' selection of Hurts, they ain't pretty. We've rounded up plenty of them below so you can have your Saturday ruined, and we also have some grades for the Birds' other Day 2 pick, LB Davion Taylor — that's right, they made another pick — who scored much better than Hurts.

• OVERALL •

Somebody's looking on the bright side... 

NFL.com: A-

I love Hurts as a competitor; he will be a plus in any locker room. Carson Wentz has missed some time over his first four seasons, so getting Hurts as an insurance policy is not a terrible idea. Eagles coach Doug Pederson can help Hurts reach his potential as a pure passer, proving this to be an excellent selection down the line. If Pederson wants to use Hurts in a Taysom Hill-type role in the meantime, he can do that, too. Taylor was an easy pick for the Eagles to make in Round 3, as he's a linebacker able to cover a lot of ground and then explode into tackles. They will be able to get a running back, safety and interior offensive lineman later in the draft.  [Chad Reuter, NFL.com]

• JALEN HURTS •

We've listed this in order from best to worst. Yes, C+ is the best we could find.

CBS Sports: C+

53. Eagles: QB Jalen Hurts, Alabama

Grade: C+. Hurts is a new-age QB. Improving as a passer but still has a ways to go. Arm strength is an issue. RB as a scrambler. Love the accuracy. Strange pick with Carson Wentz entrenched as starter.   [Chris Trapasso, CBS Sports]

Yahoo! Sports: C

53) Philadelphia Eagles: QB Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma — Our first stunner of Round 2. Is this a referendum on Carson Wentz? It’s hard to know how to read this. But Hurts can contribute as a specialty-package performer until he’s ready — or until Wentz gets hurt, if that happens again. The Eagles had done a lot of work on QBs in this draft class, but we frankly didn’t expect this here. The grade reflects the value of the pick, not Hurts’ upside, which really is intriguing.  [Eric Erdholm, Yahoo! Sports]

The Athletic: D

[Note: The Athletic also had grades from Bo Wulf and Zach Berman, but you'll have to click here for those.]

What is the best-case scenario? That’s what I asked Howie Roseman during a news conference Friday night. He pointed out Hurts is going to be a valuable player and a potential asset. So the Eagles used a second-round pick on a player with hopes that they can potentially flip him down the road like they did with Kevin Kolb or A.J. Feeley? That seems like the definition of overthinking it.

What I can’t get over is that the Eagles have a franchise quarterback who is 27, and they should be doing everything in their power to help him succeed. Look at what the Cowboys did Thursday. Did they need a wide receiver? No. But CeeDee Lamb dropped in the first round, and they grabbed him. This comes weeks after they re-signed Amari Cooper to a huge contract. The Cowboys are giving Dak Prescott help so that they can build a consistently efficient offense, which is the best way to sustain success in the NFL. The Eagles just used a second-round pick on a backup quarterback.  [Sheil Kapadia, The Athletic]

Sports Illustrated: D

53. Philadelphia Eagles: QB Jalen Hurts

Carson Wentz has obviously been injury prone, but it’s highly unlikely that Philadelphia would spend a second-round pick on an insurance policy here, and it is inconceivable that they’d even contemplate replacing a 27-year-old QB who has superstar traits. Most likely, Hurts is here to be a utility gadget player for offensive scientist Doug Pederson. But don’t make any Taysom Hill comparisons; Hurts is merely a dual-threat QB, he’s not a blocker or receiver on top of that. This is a strange pick by a ready-to-win-now team that could still use another wide receiver and needs a potential starting linebacker.  [Andy Benoit, Sports Illustrated]

Bleacher Report: D-

Bleacher Report's Pinpoint-Accurate Quarterback Comparison: Original-recipe Ryan Tannehill, as opposed to last year's Single Barrel Reserve Ryan Tannehill.

Hurts may have had the most unique, singular career of any player in college football history: two major programs, a significant (if star-crossed) role for a national champion, enough comebacks and plot twists to fill a movie trilogy. But as a prospect, Hurts is relatively conventional: a mobile quarterback with a big arm but inconsistent accuracy, mechanics and decision making. We get one or two of those every year.

But Hurts' odd career arc, coupled with Lamar Jackson's success, makes his evaluation complicated. Perhaps Hurts is another Jackson who is just a customized offense away from an MVP season? Or maybe he would better off (yawn) switching to wide receiver or in a (double yawn) Taysom Hill role? The Hurts who led Alabama to the national championship game in 2017 or Oklahoma to the college football playoffs last year can be touted as a Jackson-Patrick Mahomes-type superweapon. The Hurts who lost his job to Tua Tagovailoa can easily be written off as just another scrambler.  [Mike Tanier, Bleacher Report]

NBC Sports Philadelphia: F

True or untrue, bringing Hurts into the equation creates the perception there is a quarterback controversy. And as soon as Wentz inevitably does miss a game or struggles for a few weeks, the moment Hurts so much as breaks an 80-yard run or hits Reagor on a bomb out of the wildcat, the drumbeat for change will grow, first from fans, then pundits, and perhaps eventually inside the locker room and NovaCare Complex. 

At best, Hurts, for all his talents and qualities, should wind up a high-end backup -- a luxury the Eagles can ill-afford -- and offensive gimmick, roles he may not be especially happy filling. At worst, he is a distraction, the physical embodiment of the self-fulfilling prophecy that Wentz will not finish his career here. 

The middle ground is a spot starter the Eagles keep around for a few years when, if they're lucky, they maybe get their second-round pick back in a trade down the road. That assumes he ever plays under center, and plays well when given the chance. Those are big ifs.   [Andrew Kulp, NBC Sports]

SB Nation: Wow

Hurts has potential as a franchise QB, but he was expected to be drafted by a team with a long-in-the-tooth veteran, probably in the third round or so.

Instead, it was Round 2 and the Eagles — who have 27-year-old Carson Wentz under contract for five more years. They also have a possible out of that contract after 2021. Interesting, verrrrrry interesting. In a lot of ways it’s similar to what the Packers did with Aaron Rodgers and Jordan Love, only probably dumber!  [Christian D'Andrea, Adam Stites and Sarah Hardy, SB Nation]

• DAVION TAYLOR •

Taylor's worst grade is about the same as Hurts' best...

CBS Sports: A

103. Eagles: EDGE Davion Taylor, Colorado

Grade: A. Taylor got a raw label during pre-draft process I didn't see. Crazy fast. Takes on and defeats blocks with authority. Played and held his own flexed out as cornerback at times. Major range. Reads keys quickly. New-age LB and exactly what Philadelphia needs.   [Chris Trapasso, CBS Sports]

Bleacher Report: B+

For a still-inexperienced defender, Taylor handled a lot of responsibilities for the Buffaloes defense. He was officially a "Will" linebacker, but he covered slot receivers, was given some A-gap blitz assignments and would split wide when opponents spread the field for tunnel screens. Taylor is still raw when it comes to engaging blocks and other important details, and it's a stretch to think he can cover top slot receivers at the NFL level, but he's fast, rangy and explosive when he's close to the ball.

Taylor has sky-high upside and isn't quite the novice that his background suggests. Look for him to start on special teams but quickly grow into (at least) a productive nickel linebacker. This is a solid pick for an Eagles team that always seems a little short when it comes to athleticism at linebacker. At least they didn’t draft another quarterback.   [Mike Tanier, Bleacher Report]

Sports Illustrated: B

103: Philadelphia Eagles: LB Davion Taylor

Taylor is perceived to be a raw but potentially explosive prospect. Such a project is probably not what linebacker-hungry Eagles fans want for 2020, but as we highlighted in Philadelphia’s “team needs” before the draft, the defensive staff has good reason to be comfortable with young incumbents T.J. Edwards and Nathan Gerry as their starting nickel options. And if they take the long view, the fans have plenty to look forward to given the upside that comes with having 4.39 speed.  [Andy Benoit, Sports Illustrated]

NBC Sports Philadelphia: C+

Taylor certainly intrigues with sub-4.5 speed – two-tenths of a second off the time Jalen Reagor ran at the combine. The Colorado product ranked among the top 10 linebackers in every workout at the event, and top five in the 40 and broad jump. He’s a tremendous athlete.

After transferring from a junior college, Taylor registered 129 tackles, 18.0 TFLs and 2.0 sacks in two seasons of Pac-12 football.

But it is the third round of the draft, so he’s obviously incomplete in some way.  [Andrew Kulp, NBC Sports]

Yahoo! Sports: C

103) Philadelphia Eagles: LB Davion Taylor, Colorado — Taylor has electric speed to make plays sideline to sideline, but he’s still developing his football instincts after not playing for a year in high school because of religious reasons. Still, he has track athlete traits and outstanding stamina, and played almost every defensive snap last season and on special teams — in the high altitude, no less. Taylor could be a fan favorite in time, but he’s unrefined and in need of more coaching.  [Eric Erdholm, Yahoo! Sports]


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