Just because you think something is true, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s actually true. From the Mandela effect to the Philadelphia Experiment — and the Geto Boys — we have proof that our minds can play tricks on us.
And apparently, it’s happening to Doug Pederson.
“[We] brought in Jalen Hurts, not to undermine Carson Wentz, not to do anything to take away his job or anything because Carson was our starter,” Pederson recently said on Sirius XM’s NFL Radio. “[Wentz] was the franchise and all that moving forward. But [we wanted] someone that could come in and could be the backup and learn how to play the NFL game, bring his talent to the Philadelphia Eagles.”
According to how NFL teams have drafted second-round quarterbacks since 2011, Pederson’s words aren’t true. In fact, if anyone should understand the importance of quarterback depth, it should be Pederson — given that he won a Super Bowl with a backup QB in Nick Foles.
“You go into drafts and you go into each year looking for quarterbacks,” Pederson explained in the interview. “And we continued to look for quarterbacks, and that’s always something that will never change. We won a Super Bowl with our backup quarterback. And we’ve had to play with our backups a couple of times in Philadelphia.”
When the Eagles took Hurts — the 2019 Heisman runner-up — in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft with the 53rd overall pick, he was thought of as being a project for the future of the franchise, not a rookie that would wind up starting in Week 14, especially since Wentz had just signed a four-year, $128 million deal with the Eagles. Hurts selection also followed a trend, as the Eagles have a long history of keeping Black quarterbacks on the roster, with names like Don McPherson, Rodney Peete, Randall Cunningham, Donovan McNabb, Michael Vick, and Vince Young over the years. Hurts’ selection also meant that three of the first five quarterbacks taken in the 2020 NFL Draft were minorities, with Tua Tagovailoa (5th) and Jordan Love (26th) coming off the board on Day 1, and Hurts joining them on Day 2.
But what Hurts’ selection also meant is that he was destined to be the Eagles’ starter sooner rather than later, no matter how much money the team had just spent on Wentz. Since 2011, here are all the second-round quarterbacks that were drafted higher than Hurts in their draft classes:
- 2019: The Broncos took Drew Lock with the 42nd overall pick. He got his first start in Week 13 of his rookie season.
- 2017: DeShone Kizer was taken by the Browns with the 52nd overall pick. He was the Week 1 starter in Cleveland.
- 2016: Christian Hackenberg is the lone oddity out of his group as the Jets took him 51st overall in that draft. Hackenberg never played a down in a regular-season game, let alone started a game outside of preseason.
- 2014: The Raiders went with Derek Carr with the 36th pick. Carr became the first rookie to ever start a season for the Raiders in franchise history, and he’s still their starter. Carr was also the only rookie from his draft class to start Week 1.
- 2013: The Jets made Geno Smith their guy when he was taken with the 39th overall pick. The West Virginia gunslinger was the starter Week 1.
- 2011: Andy Dalton was taken with the 35th overall pick by the Bengals that year and was also under center Week 1.
- 2011: San Francisco chose Colin Kaepernick with the 36th overall pick. After sitting behind Alex Smith his rookie season, Kaepernick took over when Smith went down with an injury in Week 11 during his second season. Over the next two years as a starter, Kaepernick led the 49ers to back-to-back NFC Championship games, a Super Bowl, and set a slew of records.
Hurts made his debut as the starter in Philly in Week 14 of his rookie season and will be the starter going forward as Wentz was traded to the Colts in March, as Joe Flacco and Nick Mullens will back up Hurts this season.
It’s common knowledge that when an NFL team uses a first-round pick on a quarterback that they will be the Week 1 starter, or will be handed the keys to the franchise within the next few weeks — unless that team is the Green Bay Packers, and you have a first-ballot Hall of Famer that can still get it done. But over the years, the data has proven that second-round quarterback picks are also expected to be franchise players like their first-round counterparts. Somebody should let Doug Pederson know that before he interviews for another head coaching job. Knowledge is power.