EAGLES NFL DRAFT PREVIEW: The Quarterbacks

John McMullen

Quarterback certainly isn’t a need for the Eagles but general manager Howie Roseman believes in planning for a rainy day.

Carson Wentz is the man in Philly, a true franchise quarterback who is expected to lead the organization for the next decade or so after moving away from his cost-effective rookie deal as the No. 2 overall pick in 2016 and into his second contract for top-of-the-position money.

No organization understands the need for a good backup more than the Eagles with three consecutive playoffs seasons ending each time with the backup in charge, first Nick Foles for two seasons then Josh McCown in 2019.

For now, Nate Sudfeld is Wentz’s backup after re-signing on a one-year, $2 million contract with Kyle Lauletta as the developmental type looking to jump from the practice squad to the active roster.

Doug Pederson has been pretty consistent in wanting a QB2 with significant playing experience in his background so McCown, who turns 41 on the Fourth of July and has expressed an interest in playing another season, could be back at a later date.

As for the draft, Philadelphia is certainly not interested in the position during the premium rounds, but Roseman has expressed the need to draft a QB every two years or so.

Last year it was former Northwestern star Clayton Thorson. That didn’t work out so the Eagles could be back in the market in the later rounds.

Pederson, meanwhile, has a type if you look at Wentz, Foles, McCown, and Sudfeld, who are all 6-foot-4 or taller. As a long-time backup himself, Pederson is 6-3 and understands the value of standing tall in the pocket and surveying the field.

If the Eagles do bite at the position in the later rounds keep an eye on Florida International product James Morgan, a 6-4 prospect that checks all the boxes when it comes to the traditional pocket passer some NFL teams still desire.

Morgan even grew up in Green Bay, in the shadow of Lambeau Field, where he idolized Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers.

“He was my hero growing up,” said Morgan of Favre. “Since before I can remember, I played football and just growing up with him in my background and watching the magic that he did.

"I was just mesmerized with how amazing that was and the performances he consistently put out. Just the gunslinger mentality I’ve tried to emulate with my own game. I’m not scared to make any throw.”

Pederson, of course, was also in Green Bay as Favre’s backup, so perhaps when you marry that to the type of quarterback the Eagles head coach likes, Morgan to the Eagles might be the real storybook ending here.

“I’m going to sit back in the pocket, I’m going to rip it around and pick apart the defense,” said Morgan of his playing style. “But if we need to get a first down and I need to make a play, I’m definitely athletic enough to go make that play."

BUILDING THE PERFECT QB 

Arm Strength - Jacob Eason, Washington - At 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds, Eason is the power pitcher of this year's class.

Accuracy - Justin Herbert, Oregon - Most will default to Joe Burrow but when Herbert is clean in the pocket he can deliver the football to all three levels seamlessly.

Setup/Release - Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama - The hip has to be a concern for teams, but one positive is Tua's quick setup and easy release which should enable him to stay out of harm's way as much as possible.

Extending Plays - Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma - The modern NFL game is becoming about off-schedule offense and that could push Hurts up the board quicker than people realize.

Football IQ - Joe Burrow, LSU - Burrow's recognition of the opposing defense both pre-snap and post-snap is the top trait in his game and incredibly advanced for a player in the exoskeleton world of college football where coaches try to do everything from the sideline.

Intangibles - Joe Burrow, LSU - Burrow is the type of self-assured player teammates gravitate toward and that's always important for the on-field leader.

EAGLES MAVEN TOP 10:

1. Joe Burrow, LSU

2. Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama

3. Justin Herbert, Oregon

4. Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma

5. Jordan Love, Utah State

6. Jacob Eason, Washington

7. Anthony Gordon, Washington State

8. James Morgan, FIU

9. Brian Lewerke, Michigan State

10. Cole McDonald, Hawaii

Sleeper - Kevin Davidson, Princeton

Boom or Bust - Jordan Love, Utah State

John McMullen covers the Eagles for SI.com. You can listen to John every day at 4 ET on ESPN 97.3 in South Jersey and reach him at jmcmullen44@gmail.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen

   

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