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Why Eagles took QB Jalen Hurts in second round of NFL draft after paying Carson Wentz $108 million

Paul Domowitch, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in Football

PHILADELPHIA -- This isn't Howie Roseman's first rodeo. He's had his football judgment questioned more times than he can count in the years he's been running the Eagles' personnel department. Comes with the territory.

But even he was a little taken aback this spring by the level of furor caused by the team's decision to draft University of Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts in the second round.

His wife's 91-year-old grandfather, who lives in Mobile, Ala., which is just a three-hour drive from Tuscaloosa where Hurts spent three years playing for Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide, sent him a cartoon from a local newspaper that featured Hurts being harassed by an angry mob of Eagles fans.

"It's not every day that you draft the runner-up for the Heisman Trophy and people are mad about it," Roseman joked last month.

They were mad because the Eagles already had one of the league's top quarterbacks on their roster -- Carson Wentz -- and they didn't see the need to waste a high draft pick, the 53rd overall, on another one when they had other needs they could've addressed.

And they were mad because the Eagles had signed Wentz to a $108 million contract extension less than a year earlier, and here they were bringing somebody else in who might cause poor Carson to start looking over his shoulder.

 

But Roseman and the Eagles knew Wentz would be just fine. He's a big boy. He can cope with a little competition.

What the Eagles were concerned about was solidifying their backup quarterback situation. Wentz is one of the league's top passers, as evidenced by his plus-62 touchdowns-to-interceptions differential in just four NFL seasons. He also had the fifth most rushing first downs among quarterbacks last season.

But the fact of the matter is he's been hurt a lot. He's missed 13 of 54 games over the last three seasons, including five of six postseason games. And he lasted just nine snaps in that sixth playoff game before suffering a concussion, which forced the Eagles to turn to 40-year-old backup Josh McCown and his balky hamstrings.

The Eagles love Wentz. They hope he will be their starting quarterback for the next 10-12 years. They aren't trying to replace him. But with his injury history, they can't ignore the possibility that he'll probably get hurt again at some point.

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