PHILADELPHIA - With only Jalen Hurts under contract as the new league year approaches, the Eagles need bodies at the quarterback position but they are also facing significant salary-cap limitations due to a number of factors, which include the dead money the organization took on by dealing Carson Wentz to Indianapolis and the shortfall in revenue the league suffered at the hands of the COVID-19 pandemic.
If those factors prohibit Philadelphia from making a splash at signal-caller, it could look to Day 3 of the draft and the cost-effective route of a developmental project to complement second-year starter Jalen Hurts.
One of the more intriguing Day 3 prospects the Eagles could look at is former Notre Dame star Ian Book, the undersized gamer who developed from a three-star high-school prospect who first committed to Washington State into the winningest QB in Fighting Irish history.
As far as cheap backups who can run the same offense in the same manner as Hurts, Book fits that mold as a player most comfortable when extending plays and getting things done off-schedule.
The trick for Book will be proving to NFL scouts he's a viable option when running things from the pocket.
“I don’t want to have to rely on it,” Book admitted when discussing his off-schedule talents to The Draft Analysts Podcast. “There’s a fine line — and we talked about this with coach (Tommy) Rees last year — I want to know when it’s time to take off and run because I can do that, or when it’s time to sit in there and go to my third, fourth, fifth read."
Size: 6-0, 212
Strengths: The definition of a leader and gamer Book is the prototypical sum-is-greater-than-the-parts player. He excels in making plays outside of the structure of the offense, maybe the trait most valued in the modern NFL where practice time is only getting more limited.
He's elusive in the pocket, a good decision-maker, and a better athlete than most realize. Book's best trait as a thrower is the fade because Notre Dame has had so many bigger receivers who weren't burners.
The key to Book's future in the NFL will be whether he has the competent on-schedule skills to run a pro-style offense when the chaos is absent and it's a weird projection.
Weaknesses: Book lacks the top-tier NFL arm strength to scare opposing defenses with vertical routes down the field. He's also undersized and not entirely comfortable standing in the pocket and throwing the football.
A generation ago, Book wouldn't even be considered a viable prospect as an NFL QB but his innate ability to create something out of nothing changes everything.
PRO DAY: March 31
The Notre Dame Pro Day will feature plenty of NFL-level talent, most notably likely first-round linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, the template for a modern-hybrid player at the second level. ND is also known for its offensive line talent and this year's gem is OT Liam Eichenberg, who has an outside shot of going in the first round but will likely settle in as a Day 2 talent.
There are plenty of other draftable commodities as well, including OG Aaron Banks, OT Robert Hainsey, in-line tight end Tommy Tremble, edge rushers Daelin Hayes and Adetokunbo Ogundeji, big-bodied WR Ben Skowronek and Book, who could be in the mix late, either in the sixth or seventh rounds for the Eagles and many others looking for a developmental type with ready-made leadership skills.
Notes: Book threw for 8,948 yards and 72 touchdowns while adding another 1,517 rush yards and another 17 touchdowns on the ground during his college career while leading the Fighting Irish to two College Football Playoff appearances.
He surpassed Tom Clements, Ron Powlus, and Brady Quinn for most wins as a starting quarterback in Notre Dame history with 30.
John McMullen contributes Eagles coverage for SI.com's EagleMaven and is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media. You can listen to John every Monday and Friday on SIRIUSXM’s Tony Bruno Show with Harry Mayes, and every Tuesday and Thursday with Eytan Shander on SBNation Radio. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen
Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s EagleMaven. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.
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