Why did the Eagles recruit Jalen Hurts? From ‘Taysom Hill on steroids’ to replace Carson Wentz
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From a peak that hurts to see to it hurts so good.
Step by step, Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts is slowly calming questions about whether or not he can be a viable long-term starter in Philadelphia. While there is a long way to go in 2021, Hurts has been a surprising positive in a Philadelphia Eagles season that wasn’t expected to have many of those.
By any measure or metric, Hurts is having a better year in 2021 than 2020 as a starter with Doug Pederson. While Hurts wasn’t exactly drafted to replace Eagles starter Carson Wentz, at least not if you believe Pederson, he finally did that, and now he’s making the most of his opportunity as a second-year starter.
Hurts has already surpassed his 2020 totals in yards and touchdowns and is completing just under 65 percent of his passes for the 2-3 Eagles so far this year, continuing a truly fascinating football career that began in Alabama, moved to Oklahoma and now landed with the Eagles in the City of Brotherly Love.
But if the Eagles didn’t take Hurts to replace Wentz, then why was he chosen in the first place?
Why did the Eagles recruit Jalen Hurts?
Among other reasons, Philadelphia had a special plan to implement the wounds: “Taysom Hill on steroids.”
On the night of the 2020 NFL Draft, reports from the Eagles’ side indicated that Hurts was not selected to replace Carson Wentz. Rather, the Eagles had a chance to use the former Oklahoma (and Alabama) passer as a Swiss Army knife-type player similar to Hill’s.
Former Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said the same thing after Hurts was selected, saying he planned to use Hurts in that Taysom Hill role, leading to ideas of a possible two-quarterback system. with Philadelphia. That plan was very ambitious.
The idea received criticism, as some believed Hurts was not worthy of such a high pick (No. 53 overall) when the Eagles had other obvious needs on the list. Pederson explained the dynamics of having two quarterbacks in the room at the same time after the selection was made.
With Jalen Hurts, you have a unique skill set. You see what Taysom Hill has done in New Orleans and now he and Drew Brees have a connection there and a bond there, and you even watch … when [Joe] Flacco and Lamar [Jackson] in Baltimore for a short time, how they came together. It is something we are going to explore. I want to make it clear here first and foremost that Jalen Hurts is a good quarterback, and he was selected as a quarterback and he’s a first quarterback, but he has a unique skill set that he’s a great running back. Obviously, he shoots well on the run. He has a unique set of skills that we are going to see as we continue to develop this offseason and this advancement, so to speak, as we prepare for training camp.
Well, the football gods laugh at your best laid plans. Starting starter Wentz had a very, very bad year with the Eagles, prompting a spike in plays for Hurts as the season drew to a close. After leading the league in turnovers, Wentz was finally benched in the second half of the Eagles’ Week 13 game against the Packers, and those would be the last plays he would take for Philadelphia.
Hurts would be named Week 14 starter, eventually playing three games for the Eagles until he was retired in the last game of the season in favor of Nate Sudfeld.
In total, prior to Week 14, Hurts played 56 offensive plays in 10 games as a quarterback, running backward and outward. However, Hurts played most of those snapshots as a quarterback. By comparison, Hill had 217 snapshots in nine weeks before replacing Drew Brees last year. The wounds did not get exactly the same volume in the Hill cast.
But now he’s getting a lot of volume, and with Nick Sirianni, he’s making the most of it.
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