Nate Sudfeld Remains Favorite to be Backup QB

John McMullen

Much of the lip service around the NFL has tried to paint things as business as usual.

That’s simply not true, when it comes to the 2020 rookie class, however. No other freshman group has experienced what this one has with no in-person work throughout the offseason due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Perhaps in a normal offseason, Jalen Hurts would not only be in the mix to supplant Nate Sudfeld as Carson Wentz's backup, but he’d also likely be the favorite as the 53rd overall pick with the upside of an NFL starter.

That trajectory may have to be pushed back with a limited training camp. The pads don't go on until Monday, Aug. 17, and the regular-season opener is set for Sept. 13 at Washington.

“It is probably a little more difficult with the quarterback position because with Carson and Nate, making sure these two guys get the reps they need,” Pederson said while speaking to the organization's flagship radio station WIP on Friday morning. “You have to make sure Jalen is comfortable with the playbook and understands what we are doing as an offense."

The helmets came on earlier this week and Pederson was impressed with the raw skillset of Hurts.

"To watch Jalen throw the ball live and to see where he is in the progression of understanding our offense," said Pederson, "... there's still a lot to learn, but been impressed with (Hurts and first-round pick Jalen Reagor) as to where they are."

Last year the Eagles drafted a far more limited quarterback in Clayton Thorson, who did not make the team and ended up on the practice squad in Dallas. At this time last year, Thorson had already been through on-field OTAs, minicamp, and about two weeks of training camp with preseason games on the horizon.

This time there is none of that for Hurts.

"The evaluation process might take a little bit longer with the quarterback, but we are going to do everything we can to make sure all of our guys are prepared," said Pederson. "Jalen is no different.”

Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz explained to EagleSI Maven that the offseason is for teaching, training camp is for evaluation, and the regular season is about preparation for the upcoming opponent.

Two-thirds of that timeframe is being lumped into the final two weeks of August so maybe it's time to scale back the expectations for all the rookies, not just Hurts.

"It will be a little more difficult because you want to see these young players play," said Pederson. "... The way I have the true training camp, on Monday, next Monday, we start our padded portion of camp, and the way things are set up we'll have chances to evaluate these young players. But at the same time, we've got make sure that our starters are ready to go again because the first time we see a different color jersey it's a real game and it counts and it matters.

"Yeah, it's a little more difficult but we're gonna make things work."

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 jmcmullen44@gmail.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen

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