Jalen Hurts becoming a Philadelphia Eagle might be the best match for a player and team in the entire 2020 NFL Draft.
The Eagles selected Hurts in the second round with the 53rd pick on Friday night. The pick made him the second “Jalen” drafted by the squad this year and the third on the roster.
Not only does head coach Doug Pederson get a quarterback who is responsible for over 12,700 all-purpose yards, 124 touchdowns, and an average passer rating of 162.6 in his college career, they get a guy who has all the intangibles to make a mark in one of the toughest cities to play in the league.
Yet, Hurts’ selection didn’t come without backlash. The decision to draft a quarterback not even a year after giving Carson Wentz a four-year $128 million contract extension left many Eagles’ fans calling for the firing of general manager Howie Roseman.
This is arguably the organization’s most controversial pick since Andy Reid drafted 26-year-old former firefighter Danny Watkins in the first round of the 2011 Draft.
However, Hurts is no stranger to the noise coming from rabid fan bases, he’s been successful at both Alabama and Oklahoma, two of the most high-profile programs in college football history. And even with the daunting pressure of performing in front of some of the craziest college football fans in the nation, Hurts flourished by leading Alabama’s 2017 National Championship team and winning 90 percent of his games as a starter in his career.
Hurts is tough, versatile, and hungry. He has an innate chip on his shoulder that he characterizes as a “boulder.” He internalizes every slight that has been made against his ability and turns it into fuel.
It’s what makes him a perfect match in Philly.
The city embodies what Hurts is all about: hard work, passion, and the chance to make a hater look stupid.
Were their other needs that the organization needed to address at that spot?
Eagles fans have been crying for secondary help for half a decade, so it definitely wouldn’t have hurt to add a promising young safety or talented cornerback in the second round.
But when a talent like Hurts is still available toward the back end of the second round you take him.
Obviously, Hurts is not expected to drop back and sling it 40 times a game as a rookie. But he immediately fits two very significant holes in the offense.
Pederson and the rest of the organization have always valued having a strong backup quarterback in place.
Especially since Wentz has struggled to stay healthy during his short career.
Everyone remembers when Nick Foles was forced to save seasons after Wentz went down in both 2017 and 2018, leading Philly to a Super Bowl LII title against the Patriots and a Wild Card win over the Bears in respective years.
Following a Wentz concussion in last year’s wild-card game against the Seahawks, the Eagles didn’t have Foles to come to save the day and they watched their season end on the 40-year-old arm of Josh McCown.
Hurts will be a serviceable backup, who can pick up the offense quickly and make plays when called upon.
He also will allow Pederson to expand his creativity in the offensive scheme. Many have marveled about how Hurts’ versatility can make him Philly’s version of the Saints’ Taysom Hill. That’s an understatement.
Hurts has the potential to be far more than another Hill, who is primarily praised for his running ability and pass catching.
With time, Hurts can be a legitimate second quarterback who can come in and lead entire drives. His presence behind center, coupled with Pederson’s ingenuity, should give defensive coordinators night terrors preparing for the Birds.
This pick was perfect. Hurts and the Eagles are a match made in heaven.
If used correctly, he could be the key to another magical season in the City of Brotherly Love.