PHILADELPHIA – Raise your hand if you knew that Jalen Hurts would leave Tampa Bay after losing his first playoff game and become the NFC Offensive Player of the Month eight months later.
Imagine there aren’t many hands up out there, including mine, but here he is the Eagles’ QB now, the NFC’s best offensive player in the month of September, an award announced on Thursday.
He left Tampa being criticized for not being able to read a defense.
Well, in his second year, he seems to be doing OK with his reading lessons.
It’s OK to admit being wrong and say, yeah, Hurts has shown he can be the franchise quarterback.
There are some teams who got it wrong, teams that passed on drafting him in 2020.
GM Howie Roseman catches a lot of grief for taking J.J. Arcega-Whiteside over D.K. Metcalf in 2019 and Jalen Reagor ahead of Justin Jefferson in 2020, but what about the teams that said no thanks to taking Hurts?
Let’s have some fun and take a look.
First, some background.
Hurts was the 53rd player taken overall in a draft top-heavy with quarterbacks.
Three went in the top 10 starting with Joe Burrow at No. 1 overall. He was followed by Tua Tagvailoa to Miami at No. 5 and Justin Herbert to Los Angeles at No. 6.
Jordan Love then came off at No. 26 to the Packers.
Hurts became the fifth QB taken when the Eagles surprised everyone by picking him in the second round despite having given Carson Wentz a huge contract extension just a few months earlier.
The next quarterback didn't come off the board for 69 picks when the Colts selected Jacob Eason in the fourth round, 122 overall. James Morgan was next just three picks later, going to the Jets.
Here are five teams who should be catching some Roseman-like heat for not taking Hurts:
STEELERS. Ben Roethlisberger’s career was clearly at an end, but Pittsburgh insisted on hanging on to the worn-out passer well past his expiration date. Picking No. 49, they selected WR Chase Claypool. Not a bad pick, but had they had the foresight to take Hurts, they wouldn’t have had to bother with Mitch Trubisky while waiting for rookie Kenny Pickett to prove he’s ready for an NFL workload or even if he'll ever be ready.
SEAHAWKS. Russell Wilson was still the guy, but he was already chirping about wanting out. Seattle would be much further ahead in its rebuild had they taken Hurts at No. 48 rather than defensive end Darrell Taylor. Hurts would be getting plenty of comparisons to Wilson in and out of Seattle had he ended up there. Instead, they got stuck with retread Geno Smith and traded for future retread Drew Lock.
FALCONS. Another franchise with a quarterback that had age on him in Matt Ryan and another franchise that didn’t have the foresight to bring in a player who could be developed like Hurts. Instead, they went with defensive end Marlon Davidson at No. 48. Like Seattle, Atlanta is now using stopgap Marcus Mariota and hoping rookie Desmond Ridder will someday be the answer.
COLTS. Talk about an organization that could have used a young quarterback like Hurts, this one is it. There’s no argument that they made a terrific pick in RB Jonathan Taylor at No. 41, but Indianapolis is now starting its fifth different quarterback in the last five years: Andrew Luck, Jacoby Brissett, Phillip Rivers, Carson Wentz, and now Matt Ryan. No matter how good Taylor is, when you don’t have a consistent quarterback, finding one would seem to be a better bet than taking a runner.
PANTHERS. Cam Newton was probably cooked following the 2018 season and in 2019 he played just two games. Carolina needed a quarterback. It still might depending on Baker Mayfield’s progress. Kyle Allen, Teddy Bridgewater, and Sam Darnold have proven they were wrong answers. The Panthers could have had Hurts, but chose Yetur Gross-Matos at No. 38 instead.
Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Fan Nation Eagles Today and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles or www.eaglesmaven.com and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.