Eagles Rumors: PHI 'Not Necessarily' Eyeing QB in 2023 NFL Draft After Saints Trade

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVApril 5, 2022

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - DECEMBER 26: Executive Vice President and General Manger Howie Roseman of the Philadelphia Eagles looks on during a game against the New York Giants at Lincoln Financial Field on December 26, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

The Philadelphia Eagles' trade with the New Orleans Saints on Monday, which included acquiring a first-round pick in the 2023 NFL draft, reportedly wasn't solely focused on a future quarterback search.

ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported details on the Eagles' thinking behind the deal Tuesday on Get Up:

"The sense is that it's not necessarily a QB-only move for the Eagles. They're just getting good value. You gotta remember the Saints aren't necessarily gonna get the 32nd pick in the first round. Like, they might not be a great team, so they might get a good pick in the middle of the first round. So they're banking on value, and it's overall a stronger QB draft next year and a stronger overall draft, so the Eagles are just looking to maximize their value here."

If nothing else, Philadelphia has given itself plenty of flexibility heading into next year's draft. It could strike gold if New Orleans goes through a down year and conveys a top-10 pick.

While the Eagles may not have done the trade specifically to select a quarterback next year, third-year signal-caller Jalen Hurts is heading into a critical year either way.

The 2020 second-round selection put together a solid, albeit unspectacular, first season as the team's full-time starter in 2021. He completed 61.3 percent of his passes for 3,144 yards with 16 touchdowns and nine interceptions in 15 games. He added 784 rushing yards and 10 scores on the ground.

Hurts received a 80.8 overall grade from Pro Football Focus and ranked 19th in ESPN's Total QBR (48.5).

Those are starter-level numbers, but they don't put him in the upper echelon at the NFL's most important position. Philly will want to see further improvement in 2022.

"My second year as a starter, it started today," Hurts told reporters in January. "That's where my head is, attacking and learning from everything. And attacking to be a better quarterback next year, be a better leader next year for my team."

If Hurts takes a step forward and firmly establishes himself as a franchise signal-caller, the Eagles can use their pair of first-rounders in 2023 to continue building the roster around him. Should he struggle, they could potentially use those picks to move up in the opening round with an eye toward one of the class' top quarterback prospects.

Alabama's Bryce Young and Ohio State's C.J. Stroud are among the quarterbacks with the potential to be early-round picks in 2023.

The situation as a whole makes the Eagles one of the most intriguing teams to watch over the next 13 months.