The Philadelphia Eagles should draft a quarterback in this upcoming NFL Draft, with that said, they should think better of a quarterback selection in the first round.
The quarterback class in the draft this year is extremely weak. There is no slam-dunk franchise changing quarterback that teams are high on. Sure, experts can tell us that teams have a high interest in one guy, or love another QB just not as a high draft pick, but most of those stories are leaked by teams to trick other teams into thinking there may be other franchises interested. Leaked stories like the ones mentioned force teams to draft players higher than they’d like. A prime example of this is when the Eagles leaked stories of the team having a high interest in DE Dion Jordan in the 2013 NFL Draft. Miami badly needed a pass rusher along side Cameron Wake so they made a trade to jump ahead of Philadelphia to select Jordan at number 3. The Eagles went ahead and drafted OT Lane Johnson with the 4th pick, and have said that Johnson was their man all along. Oakland held the number 3 pick before Miami made the trade, and in 2013 Oakland could have used all the help they needed, especially on the offensive line. Oakland received the 12th pick and the 42nd overall pick in the trade swap. Dion Jordan has been nothing short of a bust since while Lane Johnson seems to grow each year.
Now one might ask, what does this have to do with a quarterback? Absolutely nothing. What this does mean is rumors are floated to force teams to overthink and reach on players that may otherwise be forgotten in the first half of the draft. This gives teams more of a chance to select the player they actually want.
One should worry when only one quarterback is projected as a top 10 pick. Sure, the NFL combine is this weekend and that should help the draft stock of some quarterbacks participating, yet it’s still worrisome that scouts have these guys listed so low in a weak QB class. The one QB who is consistently projected as a top 10 pick is Jared Goff from Cal. Most mock drafts have Goff listed at number 2 to Cleveland, others have him heading to San Francisco to join Chip Kelly with the 7th pick. The only other QB projected to go in the first round is Carson Wentz from North Dakota State. Now some mock drafts have Wentz listed as high as 2 (Cle), others have him at 7 (SF), 13 (Phi), 15 (LA), or as low as 22nd to Houston. Maybe I’m reaching here, but this could be the worst first round QB class since 2013 when the only quarterback taken was EJ Manuel at 16. The only other QB projected to go first round in the 2013 draft went in the second round. The funniest part were the rumors floating around that the Eagles should take him with the 4th pick. That quarterback’s name? Geno Smith.
Now I do believe there is some decent talent in the later rounds of this draft. The biggest problem for the Eagles is the nonexistence of a second round pick.
There are three quarterbacks who intrigue me in the 2nd-4th rounds of the upcoming draft, Paxton Lynch, Christian Hackenberg, and Connor Cook. Lynch is projected to go anywhere from 1-2, so lets say he’s gone. That leaves Cook and Hackenberg. Both Cook and Hackenberg are projected to be drafted anywhere from rounds 2-4. Cook is my personal favorite QB in this draft and Hackenberg is right there with him. Both QBs struggle with their own weaknesses but so does every QB prospect. They both have NFL ready bodies and have decent NFL intangibles. Cook is probably more ready than Hackenberg just because he has a stronger pocket presence, however, we should give Hackenberg the benefit of the doubt because he plays for that dickhead James Franklin who ruined the kid’s college career.
The Eagles have 9 picks in the upcoming NFL Draft. They have the 13th overall, two 3rd round picks, a 4th, two 5th round picks, a 6th, and two 7th round picks. We know the Eagles sent their 2nd rounder to STL (now LA) in the Sam Bradford trade, but we have other picks to play with. If we can stay in the 3rd round and draft either Cook or Hackenberg I’d be thrilled, yet if we have to give up a 3rd and our 4th to move into the second somewhere to draft one of the two we shouldn’t mind that either. It’s easy to trade picks or players to move up into the later rounds (4,5,6,) to gain picks back. Don’t be afraid to maneuver picks when possible. The low-risk high-reward factor benefits the team better this way.
None of these quarterbacks are ready to step right in and takeover a franchise right away, not even the projected first round picks. If they are forced to sit a year or so behind a respectable NFL veteran to help show them the ropes of what it’s like to be an NFL player they should benefit from it.
The last thing anyone wants is Mark Sanchez or Chase Daniel teaching these young quarterbacks how to be a career back up or the perfection of the butt-fumble. That would be disastrous.
If the Eagles decide to go this route they should sign Sam Bradford to a 3-4 year deal and have one of these kids ready to step in behind him when his contract expires. If Bradford fails miserably or proves he’s non durable then let the kid take over. Now, if Bradford becomes part of the NFL elite in the meantime that’s something the team should feel lucky about. The first round pick wasn’t wasted on a QB who rode the bench, the 3rd round pick was, and now it’s incredibly easy to trade one of these kids for that 2nd round pick back. Even if it takes a few years the Eagles gain value either way. #Win-win.