By Max Harper
Today is Jan. 19.
Which means there are 99 days until the NFL draft in Las Vegas.
And the sharpies along the Strip haven’t yet placed odds on whether the Eagles will use one of their three first-rounbd picks to draft a new quarterback.
But it seems as if Jalen Hurts’ performance in Sunday’s Wild Card debacle makes it an even bet thet Howie Roseman and Jeff Lurie have seen enough.
The limping Hurts would have had to have played the game of his life for the Eagles to have a chance against the Buccaneers.
But he went 23-of-43 for 258 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions, and the Eagles fell 31-15 in a game that wasn’t as close as the final score indicates.
To be fair to Hurts, the loss was also partially on the defense and their inability to stop Tom Brady, something the rest of the NFL has also had lots of trouble with this season. But Hurts, who has struggled to throw the ball for much of the season and wasn’t able to compensate for it as much as usual due to his ankle injury, wasn’t able to do enough in the passing game to keep the Eagles close.
Hurts, who completed 61.3% of his passes for 3,144 yards with 16 touchdowns to nine interceptions while leading all quarterbacks with 784 rushing yards and 10 rushing touchdowns, is just 23 and largely looked the part during his first year as a starter while leading the Eagles to a 9-8 record and the seventh and final playoff seed. But he also had just one victory over a team with a winning record this season and, while clearly an upgrade over departed previous starter Carson Wentz, may not be the long-term solution for the Eagles at quarterback unless he can develop as a passer.
Hurts is young and he should get better as the Eagles add more talent around him, but Philadelphia also has the option of moving on or at least bringing in some competition at quarterback as the Eagles hold three first-round picks (Nos. 15, 16 and 19) in April’s draft.
“I know we’re all judged on the last game that we played, I fully get that, but I felt like Jalen grew throughout the year,” Eagles coach Nick Sirianni said after the game. “He got better as a passer, he got better reading the defense, getting the ball to the right place. He developed so much in his ability to extend plays, not only making plays with his feet but also making plays downfield on the scramble. I feel really good with what we have in place right here at the quarterback position.”
Let’s see if he still feels the same way in April.