Eagles coach Doug Pederson said Tuesday that while Hurts will have the opportunity to compete for the No. 2 quarterback job, the rookie is likely to begin the season behind both Carson Wentz and Nate Sudfeld on the depth chart, Matt Mullin of PhillyVoice.com reports. "Football teams are going to have to rely on their veteran players, and Nate is one of those guys for us. I have a ton of confidence in Nate to become the backup quarterback," Pederson said. "Nothing is ever handed to anybody, and we always try to create competition at every position, and quarterback is not exempt from that. But I fully expect Nate to come in and be aggressive and do the things that he's capable of doing and become the backup to Carson."
Though the Eagles used the 53rd overall pick in April's draft on Hurts, that investment alone won't give the rookie the leg up in the job battle with Sudfeld, who is entering his fourth year in the Eagles' system. The shortened offseason in light of the coronavirus pandemic will only make it more difficult for Hurts to gain familiarity with Pederson's offensive scheme, so his first year in the NFL could be more of a developmental one, at least from the perspective of a traditional quarterback. Hurts' skills as a runner may still allow him to see occasional snaps as a gadget player or Wildcat quarterback, but in the event of a Wentz injury, Sudfeld looks to be the next man up under center.
The Eagles selected Hurts in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft, 53rd overall.
Hurts (6-foot-1, 222) is a compelling quarterback prospect out of Oklahoma, but his selection by Philadelphia is a little strange. Good as Hurts might be, he will likely never challenge Carson Wentz for Philadelphia's starting quarterback role, reducing him to a backup and gadget player. Even with Wentz's various durability concerns, it feels like overkill to spend so much on a backup quarterback. Hurts shows promise for his own part, though, improving his accuracy at Oklahoma after he got Wally Pipped by Tua Tagovailoa at Alabama. Perhaps Hurts will earn Wildcat snaps or some such thing, his 4.59 speed affording playmaking ability on gimmick plays, but for the indefinite future he looks more like an expensive emergency measure for the Eagles.