Jalen Hurts Pick About Three I's

Innovation, Injury, and Insurance are reasons why the great college quarterback is in Philly
Publish date:

If you want to explain the Philadelphia Eagles wow pick of former Alabama and Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts in the second round of the NFL Draft, focus on the three I's.

In this case, it's not Olympic gold medalist and former WWE champion Kurt Angle's intensity, integrity and intelligence, it's about innovation, injuries, and insurance.

The Eagles' Press Taylor, the same guy who mined the Philly Special from a meaningless Chicago-Minnesota game tape and who has experienced a meteoric rise from assistant quarterbacks coach to passing game coordinator in just over two calendar years, was asked about the NFL's continued evolution last year.

"I think at some point one of the big things will be having multiple people on the field who can throw the ball," Taylor said.

Jeffrey Lurie's organization prides itself on innovation and always being ahead of the curve. Those who've framed the pick as myopic, pointing to Carson Wentz's injury history or Taysom Hill's limited role in New Orleans as a template of the potential ceiling of this decision are pointing only to a piece of a puzzle.

The Hurts pick is about more than a backup QB even though the Eagles value that position more than most for obvious reasons. It’s also about the new NFL with 17 games on the horizon, expanded playoffs, less practice, the shift to more off-schedule offense, and yes T Hill-like schematics or Taylor's vision of multiple people on the field who can throw the football.

"He has a unique skill set," coach Doug Pederson said when discussing Hurts. "You see what Taysom Hill has done in New Orleans and now he and [Saints QB] Drew Brees have a connection there and a bond there, and you even look at -- when [Joe] Flacco and [Ravens QB] Lamar [Jackson] in Baltimore for the short period of time, how they gelled together. It's just something we're going to explore."

That exploration is also about the next three or four years and the Eagles know the start will likely be slow due to the unique circumstances of this virtual offseason amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"He's a quarterback first, but he has a unique skill set that he's a great runner," Pederson explained. "Obviously, he throws well on the run. He has a unique set of skills that we're going to take a look at."

The biggest problem, however, is the tone-deafness to how others would perceive the pick and how that will impact things moving forward.

Understanding all eyes were on him Wentz took to the social media to welcome Hurts: “Welcome to the best football city in America brotha!” the QB1 tweeted.

The best is debatable.

Most passionate is not and many fans who spent their night skewering general manager Howie Roseman will surely turn their ire toward Wentz in times of struggle especially with a young talented name who happens to have the pedigree of a premium pick and succeeding on the biggest stages in college football.

“We think he’s more valuable than at the pick we took him at,”  Roseman said. “And we think where the league is going, when he gets experience in coaching, this is going to be a valuable player. And that for us, that’s our job, to acquire as many assets as we can, and utilize them and also utilize them to get more value.”

The last part of that is in relation to the Eagles' history this century in which Andy Reid was able to peddle off players like A.J. Feeley and Kevin Kolb for significant return, and Roseman was able to do the same with Sam Bradford and even Nick Foles when you factor in the compensatory pick that led Philadelphia to speedy Colorado linebacker Davion Taylor in the third round Friday night.

“For better or worse, we are quarterback developers,” Roseman said. “We want to be a quarterback factory. We have the right people in place to do that. No team in the NFL has benefited more from developing quarterbacks than the Eagles. When we make these decisions, we always go to our principles. Right or wrong, this is who we are.”

It’s not quite injecting-disinfectant bad but “quarterback factory” feels like the type of off-the-cuff remark that critics will put in their back pockets to use against Roseman moving forward.

Behind the scenes, Roseman may understand the backlash but he wasn't letting on if he did.

“We didn’t think this was much different than when we brought in Nick Foles, the amount of money we gave Nick Foles as a backup quarterback in 2017, and bringing him back in 2018,” he claimed.

It also wasn't a rash decision with the Eagles taking advantage of a falling player on the board.

Philadelphia did significant homework on Hurts. Vice president of player personnel Andy Weild confirmed he watched Hurts up close during the season at Oklahoma, was again paying heavy attention at the Senior Bowl and combine. Meanwhile, both Pederson said Taylor, meanwhile, went to Oklahoma’s pro day before the COVID-19 pandemic.

For better or worse, this was the plan.

“We looked at where we were on the board and what was the thing that we believed in the most and what were the kind of people we believed in the most,” Roseman said. “Jalen stood out in all those regards. We think he’s an incredible teammate. He’s got a lot to learn here, obviously. We’ve shown how we feel about Carson by our actions.”

John McMullen covers the Eagles for SI.com and is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media. You can listen to John every day on SIRIUSXM’s Tony Bruno Show with Harry Mayes, Every Tuesday and Thursday with Eytan Shander on SBNation Radio, and every weekday on ESPN 97.3 in South Jersey. You can reach him at jmcmullen44@gmail.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen