PHILADELPHIA (CBS)- The Philadelphia Eagles made 10 selections in the 2020 NFL Draft, but perhaps none was more controversial or conversation generating than when the team took Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts with the 53rd overall pick on Friday night.
The selection turned heads considering the team had just extended starting quarterback Carson Wentz prior to the 2019 season with a contract that guarantees him about $107 million. And, considering Wentz is just 27 years old, picking his presumed backup that high in the draft seemed strange.
For Eagles general manager Howie Roseman, it was a simple matter of how the team views the quarterback position as he explained to Mike Garafolo on the Rap Sheet & Friends podcast.
“Actions speak louder than words. And when we traded up for Carson we gave a tremendous amount of resources, to trade up for Carson Wentz,” said Roseman. “And then last year we gave him a huge contract so we are married to Carson Wentz. Coach Pederson, Jeff Lurie and I, we’re all married to Carson Wentz and we’ve shown that with our actions. We believe in him, but at the same time we believe in the quarterback position and Jalen Hurts is a tremendous player. He’s a tremendous winner. He’s got tremendous skill set, he fits where the league is going, and we’re going to err on the side of caution when it comes to the quarterback position.”
Roseman went on to say that in 2012, the team wanted to get a pair of quarterbacks in the draft, but decided to wait on one and he was gone. So, they decided to get their guy when he fell to them in the second round this time around. Wentz has missed all but one quarter of the team’s playoff games over the course of the last three years making his backup and important roster spot.
And, even with the Hurts pick, Roseman told Garafolo he believes the team added complimentary weapons to Wentz’s arsenal with their later round picks. He said his list of priorities heading into the offseason featured three main things.
“It’s going to be can he run, is he healthy, does he love to play,” said Roseman. “We want to add team speed, all over and we want to make sure those were also good players. I sit here now after free agency and the draft and feel like we did that and we’re not saying we’re done.”
“We want to compliment our quarterback’s skill set and Carson is a tremendous player and he’s got a tremendous ability to throw the ball down the field,” said Roseman.
The Eagles ranked 18th in the league in pass plays of 20 yards or more in 2019 (52) and they were tied for 24th in pass plays of 40 yards or more (6). With the additions of first round pick Jalen Reagor, 5th round pick John Hightower, 6th rounder Quez Watkins and trade acquisition Marquise Goodwin, the hope is those numbers will improve. Reagor, in particular, will have high expectations after being selected in the first round, the first receiver the team has taken that high since the now-departed Nelson Agholor in 2015.
“There’s no question in our minds that this guy is explosive. And when you look at what we’re looking for as an offense, we’re looking for guys who can get separation on the outside,” said Roseman. “This guy (Reagor), he is explosive with the ball in his hands. This wasn’t a consolation prize for us on Jalen. We felt like if he came out last year, you’re talking about a guy that would have been a top 15 pick so we’re excited to get him.”