The backlash has been so outrageous, so vociferously negative, that Eagles general manager spent good chunks of his post-draft tour of various radio shows defending the selection of Oklahoma/Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts in the second round of the just-completed NFL draft.
“This is one of the great college football players of the last four years,” said Roseman on WIP Sportstalk Radio on Monday.
“This is one of the great character guys in this draft. This is one of the great leaders in this draft. This is an asset to any football team. I want our fans to take a minute and just watch that guy and see that this is a talented guy that we added to our football team.”
Here is a link to a video breaking down the pick of Jalen Hurts:
There’s no question Hurts had a great college career, going 38-4 combined as a starter at two top-shelf Division I programs.
That’s not the issue.
What’s done is done now.
The issue is, after ignoring positions that seemed to be of greater need, such as cornerback, perhaps, how does Hurts fit?
He’s an insurance policy to guard against injury to injury-prone Carson Wentz, yes.
Roseman talked about that on SiriusXM NFL Radio on Monday.
“Insurance premiums are always high,” said Roseman. “…It’s when you really need it that it becomes worthwhile.”
Hurts will make his NFL debut for the Eagles in 2020, unless, of course, COVID-19 won’t let the NFL season happen.
Bookmakers are betting on it. Hurts has been installed at 50-1 odds by BetOnline.ag to be the offensive rookie of the year.
It may not be as the backup quarterback in the strictest sense of the word “backup” because, at the moment, that is the role of Nate Sudfeld, who is returning for his fourth season with the team and knows every nook and cranny of head coach Doug Pederson’s playbook.
There is a rumor afoot that Hurts could be used strictly as a running back in his first season.
Yes, Hurts will run, but he is a quarterback. Pederson was abundantly clear that Hurts was drafted to be a quarterback. In the next breath the coach said that options will be explored to figure out how to get Hurts involved.
Look no further than Marty Mornhinweg, the Eagles’ senior offensive consultant, who may have been one of the driving forces in the selection of Hurts at No. 53 overall.
Mornhinweg was the offensive coordinator in Baltimore when the Ravens drafted Lamar Jackson in 2018 with the final pick in the first round, No. 32 overall.
Joe Flacco was the starter then, albeit an aging one, much older than 27-year-old Wentz. Flacco held onto his job for the first nine games before Jackson took over.
In those nine games that Jackson backed up Flacco, Mornhinweg had a play package for Jackson and had him run 23 times for 129 in nine games and a touchdown, with seven completions in 12 throws for 93 yards and one TD.
The same thing will likely happen with Hurts, and Wentz will have to adjust.
Or maybe there’s a way to keep both on the field and run all sorts of gadget plays, maybe one per game.
Last year, the Eagles offense didn’t look very creative.
Hurts will give the play-callers the ability to get creative.
“Having Marty look at Jalen and his skillset and what he can do,” said Pederson, “and then how they put plans together, how they designed an offense around putting Lamar in his rookie season and allowing him to play certain plays, it's all part of the process.”