The impossible decision the Eagles have to make
The impossible decision the Eagles must make originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
The biggest question the Eagles face today is one they can't honestly answer.
Should they stick with Jalen Hurts or sign a quarterback?
The immediate future of the franchise depends on whether they get this right. And the scary thing is there is no way they can know.
There's just no way Howie Roseman, Nick Sirianni, and the rest of the Eagles' brain trust can sit there in the NovaCare complex and decide for sure what they have in Hurts.
After 3 1/2 games? Playing behind this offensive line and those receivers? In an offense where the game in progress was virtually nonexistent?
No one can rate injuries beyond that: there were moments when he looked really, very good and moments when he looked really, very bad.
Like any young quarterback.
It is not enough to keep going.
Ty Detmer, Kevin Kolb and Bobby Hoying were a combined 8-3-1 with 18 TDs and 9 TDs in their first four career starts. They were 15-32-1 with 61 TDs and 68 TDs the rest of their careers.
Conversely, Randall Cunningham and Donovan McNabb were a combined 2-6 with 6 TDs and 10 INTs on their first four starts. But we all know how their careers went after that.
Nobody knows after four games.
But literally any team that has a top 10 selection and doesn't have an established quarterback will consider drafting one. You need to. Here you can find people like Peyton Manning, Josh Allen or Pat Mahomes.
There are always exceptions. Drew Brees was a 2nd round election. Russell Wilson was a 3. We all know Tom Brady was a 6.
But your best chance of winning a Franchise QB is in the first round. Up on the first lap.
Since 2000, 58 Pro Bowl QBs have been designed. Almost half (28) were taken in the first 12 picks. Three were taken later in the 1st round, six in the 2nd round, four in the 3rd round, four in the 4th round and then 13 in different places in the 5th round and beyond or not occupied.
Round 2 is the second most likely place to find an elite QB, and the first 12 picks are almost five times more likely.
And the Eagles vote in 6th place.
And this is only the third time in the last 20 years that they have had a top 6 pick, and only the sixth time in 45 years. And we know they consider themselves a quarterback factory.
So these opportunities don't come up very often.
That makes this decision so difficult.
If you take a receiver or a corner or something else in 6th place and leave with Hurts, you might eventually win a Super Bowl with him, but keep in mind that Brees, Brett Favre and Ken Stabler are the only round two picks, who ever won a Super Bowl.
And if Hurts isn't that guy, then who knows when your next opportunity will come to choose that high? The Eagles didn't finish in the top 10 between Corey Simon in 2000 and Lane Johnson in 2013.
Maybe hurts is awful and you'll be right back there in 2022 and draw your quarterback. Maybe he's elite and you don't have to worry for a decade.
It's the huge middle ground that is so worrying. It's good enough to keep you competitive but not good enough to win anything.
Then you're stuck outside of the top 10 with no franchise QB.
Now drawing a man in the first few picks is also a risk. Nobody knows if Justin Fields or Zach Wilson or Trey Lance will be the guy. Nobody needs to be reminded of Ryan Leaf, Heath Shuler or Akili Smith.
But vote early in the 1st round and you'll have history on your side.
The Eagles really got themselves in a ridiculous position last April. Drafting Hurts set a series of events in motion that threw the most important position on the team into chaos.
And all they can do now is guess what they have and what they need. You can't afford to be wrong.
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