PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Philadelphia Eagles’ selection of Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts has been the main topic of discussion in the city since the team made the pick on Friday, April 26. It will likely continue to be a topic of discussion throughout the offseason and, if and when the NFL season begins, through the season.
Former Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb joined Showtime’s Brian Custer on his new podcast The Last Stand Podcast with Brian Custer, to discuss the move. McNabb’s initial reaction? He knew it would draw the ire of the fans. But, he also points out that backup quarterback was a position of need for the team.
“I actually laughed at the pick because I was like, ‘Oh, I know they’re not going to like this,'” said McNabb. “My whole thing is, it was a need for them. It was a need because, they had two opportunities to bring Nick Foles back and they didn’t. They really didn’t have a true young backup that can go in and continue the offense going if something happens to Carson.”
Considering that last year’s playoff exit ended with 40-year-old Josh McCown under center after Wentz was forced to leave due to injury, having a young backup on the roster can’t hurt. But, the issue is more of where the selection was made, 53rd overall, when the team seemed to have bigger needs. And it was more confusing for fans that in what was considered to be the deepest wide receiver class in recent memory, the team would select a quarterback in the second round. That is where McNabb understands the fans’ consternation.
“You really have to question it because the picks going later, it seemed like they were trying to please by saying, ‘Hey, I told you, we got some offensive help,'” said McNabb. “But, you never addressed the linebacker situation nor did you address the secondary.”
The biggest question, outside of why it was Hurts over a receiver, is what role would he have in the offense. The comments from the coaching staff and general manager Howie Roseman have seemed to imply that the team will find a way to use him in some fashion this season.
That has led to plenty of speculation about a role similar to that of Taysom Hill of the New Orleans Saints, who has been a do-everything sort of player with various gadget plays installed for him. McNabb thinks the comparison of Hurts to Hill is a bad one because Hurts is a much better quarterback than Hill was coming out of college. He also said that when it comes to those gadget type of plays with a quarterback, there’s one big problem that could arise.
“The problem with this whole gadget play type of quarterback deal is when you throw five to six plays a game with Jalen in there, and Jalen is getting first down after first down, or he’s making a big miraculous play for a touchdown, what’s going to happen?” asked McNabb. “The fans want more. They want to see more of Jalen Hurts. So what does that do to the psyche of Carson Wentz? You’re not actually helping your franchise quarterback by continuously moving these pieces in.”
McNabb went on to say, that when you bring in a backup quarterback, the focus should be on developing him in the pocket, which could be hurt by installing a package of gadget plays.
Wentz and Hurts have both said all the right things about teaching and learning from each other respectively. Still, the conversation and debate is likely to continue until fans see the plan in motion on the field. If the Eagles have success and their other picks at wide receiver pan out, the noise is likely to get much quieter.
The full interview with McNabb can be found in the video above or on The Last Stand Podcast with Brian Custer YouTube channel.