Philadelphia sports fans don’t get very sentimental, and the latest subject of ire is Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz. Philly drafted Jalen Hurts in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft, after all. Why wait when Wentz has failed to win any of the season’s first three games?
The former Alabama and Oklahoma QB Hurts will likely see the field on “Sunday Night Football” in Week 4 against the San Francisco 49ers, but not in a full-time quarterback role. Rather, he’ll fill the gadget spot he’s been used at the last couple weeks. But any flashes from Hurts are sure to get Eagles fans dreaming of the next big thing.
MORE: Doug Pederson says benching Wentz would be ‘knee-jerk reaction’
Will the Eagles bench Carson Wentz for Jalen Hurts?
The likelihood of Wentz being benched for Hurts is very low. Wentz is due an average of $30 million across the next four seasons, so he’s been heavily invested in. He also isn’t necessarily to blame for the Eagles’ early-season struggles — injuries along the offensive line and to key skill-position players have left Wentz playing with less-than-ideal offensive players.
Eagles head coach Doug Pederson also clarified on his weekly radio appearance Monday that benching Wentz would be a “knee-jerk reaction” to the early-season struggles. Hurts has yet to throw a pass in the NFL — he’s been in on six plays and run twice for eight yards, with both carries coming in Week 3. And there wasn’t a preseason to provide a look at what Hurts can do throwing on an NFL field, so any decisions the Eagles would make would likely be based on confidence built up in Hurts in practice.
How good is Jalen Hurts?
Hurts had a two-pronged college career. He began at Alabama, where his passing mechanics were visually flawed. In his three seasons there, he completed 62.9 percent of his throws at 8.0 yards per attempt. Then as a graduate transfer at Oklahoma, Hurts connected on 69.7 percent of his passes at 11.3 yards per pass. It’s easy to call Hurts a system QB due to OU’s recent success at the position, but he did truly improve the way he threw and worked out of the pocket.
The Eagles’ early usage of Hurts as a rusher is for an obvious reason — he’s really good at it. Hurts ran for 1,298 yards in his lone season with the Sooners. He checks in at 6-1, 218 pounds and has a solid rushing combination of speed and strength.
Aside from a 99-yard touchdown pass thrown in training camp, there’s not a ton to go on as to whether Hurts’ game will truly translate to the NFL. For now, the Eagles don’t have enough reason to give up on Wentz due to their draft capital and financial investment in him. Drafting Hurts in the second round was certainly curious, but Philadelphia will likely find usage for him even with Wentz playing and healthy.
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Why did the Eagles draft Jalen Hurts?
The Eagles picked Hurts in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft with the 53rd overall pick. Eagles general manager Howie Roseman said after the draft that the choice to pick Hurts was “independent of Wentz,” adding that “There’s no threat to Carson here.”
Roseman told the media that he’d called Wentz ahead of time to let him know that the Eagles were considering drafting Hurts. For his part, Wentz welcomed Hurts “to the best football city in America” via Twitter following the selection.
In his post-draft comments, Roseman went on to say that he believes Wentz is the player to lead the Eagles to their next Super Bowl championship, “but for better or worse, we are QB developers. When we make these kind of decisions, we always go to our principles and who we are and what we believe in, and right or wrong, this is who we are.”
What is Jalen Hurts’ 40 time?
Hurts ran a 4.54-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. That’s two-tenths of a second off Lamar Jackson’s 4.34-second time, but overall it’s quick for a quarterback. And it’s faster than the athletic Wentz, who ran a 4.77-second 40-yard dash at the 2016 NFL Combine.