When the Philadelphia Eagles agreed to trade former MVP candidate Carson Wentz to the Indianapolis Colts, marking the end of a mercurial five-year relationship, some viewed the move as an official promotion for backup Jalen Hurts. The latter, after all, took over for Wentz at the end of 2020 and cost the Eagles a second-round draft pick just a year ago. With the 2021 NFL Draft just around the corner, however, all indications are that the Eagles will strongly consider adding a new QB, either with their No. 6 pick or in a trade up at the top of the first round.
Prior to Wentz's move to Indy, Philly.com's Les Bowen cited an NFL source in forecasting the Eagles' trade with the Colts, adding that a deal would likely pave the way for the team drafting another young QB sixth overall. Now, Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer has added fuel to the fire, reporting Monday that the Eagles will, in fact, consider taking a QB that high.
"(General manager Howie) Roseman joined the Eagles in 2000, and that year Philly also had the sixth pick," Breer wrote. "They've had a top-10 pick without having to trade up for it just once since then -- they picked fourth the year Andy Reid got fired and wound up with Lane Johnson. Suffice it to say, they don't plan on picking this high again, so they plan on grinding hard on every option with the pick, QBs included."
None of this should be a surprise. As soon as reports indicated the Eagles were listening to offers for Wentz, it became apparent that an eventual deal wouldn't confirm organizational faith in Hurts as much as a willingness to reboot the position entirely. As Breer noted, top-five or top-10 picks simply don't come around every year, and the Eagles -- perhaps more than any team, sometimes to their detriment -- have committed to exhausting more resources at QB than anywhere else.
Hurts is widely expected to have a chance at opening 2021 as the team's new starter, flashing poise and mobility in four games to close 2020. As PhillyVoice's Jimmy Kempski notes, however, "the top four quarterback prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft" -- Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Justin Fields and Trey Lance; two of which are likely to be off the board by the time the Eagles pick at No. 6 -- "are all thought to be clearly better passers, and they all have some running ability in their own right."
"If the Eagles are on the clock at pick No. 6," Kempski writes, "Hurts' ability as a passer is probably concerning enough that the Eagles will seriously consider drafting a quarterback."
Even with holes across the rest of the roster, common sense says that's the right play, too.