Report: Insiders Feel Eagles Could Draft QB as Insurance or Competition to Hurts

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVApril 11, 2021

Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Philadelphia Eagles may reportedly seek "competition" for quarterback Jalen Hurts during the 2021 NFL draft, which kicks off April 29.

ESPN's Jeremy Fowler appeared Sunday on SportsCenter to analyze the different directions the Eagles, who own the 12th overall pick in the first round, could go when they're on the clock:

"One GM told me that he expects the Eagles to at least field some calls, maybe move up or down. That's just the way that GM Howie Roseman rolls; he likes to move when he can. Now, they need cornerback help as well. You look at the quarterbacks. If Trey Lance slides, if Justin Fields slides and the Eagles have a high grade on them, they could make that move. They've already moved back once, maybe they move up if they want to get the right guy.

"People I've talked to think the Eagles could go quarterback somewhere in this draft just to either get insurance for Jalen Hurts or competition for Jalen Hurts. However, the Eagles typically like to go big bodies in the first round with offensive lineman, maybe they play it safe there."

Philadelphia's trade of Carson Wentz to the Indianapolis Colts made it seem like the franchise was prepared to move forward with Hurts as its unquestioned No. 1 quarterback for 2021. While that may still be the case, recent reports indicate they may still be looking for an upgrade.

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reported Friday the Eagles are preparing to "pursue" Houston Texans signal-caller Deshaun Watson if he "properly and appropriately" settles the 22 civil lawsuits filed against him by women alleging sexual assault and misconduct.

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The front office already added Joe Flacco, who helped lead the Baltimore Ravens to a Super Bowl title at the end of the 2012 season, but he's best suited as a veteran reserve at this point in his career.

So the key question is whether the Eagles are uncertain about Hurts or if they're just doing their due diligence via the trade market and the draft.

Hurts' overall numbers as a rookie in 2020 don't jump off the page. He completed 52 percent of his throws for 1,061 yards with six touchdowns and four interceptions in 15 games (four starts). He added 354 rushing yards and three scores on the ground.

The 2019 Heisman Trophy finalist did showcase occasional moments of high-end play, though. His best performance came Dec. 20 against the Arizona Cardinals when he threw for 338 yards, rushed for 63 yards and tallied four total touchdowns (three passing and one rushing) with no turnovers.

In March, Hurts was asked on the Adam Schefter Podcast (via CBS Sports' Cody Benjamin) what he thought the Wentz trade meant for his role in Philly.

"I think it was just an opportunity for me," he said. "I think it shows the trust and what they think I can be as a player. So I want to prove 'em right."

There are always a lot of smokescreens before the draft, and the Eagles may be feigning interest in a quarterback at No. 12 in case one of the top QB prospects slides and remains on the board, which would give them some additional leverage in trade talks.

At this point, it's still more likely than not Hurts opens the 2021 season as the team's starting quarterback, but it appears the front office is at least exploring other options.