• Adam Caplan

Ask ITB: Why did the Eagles Really Draft Hurts?

Note: Post your question via the Apple Customer review section for our show when you rate and review and we’ll answer it here. From Customer Reviews on Apple (rjfield11): Thanks for all the work, you guys own this space!!! In (executive VP/General Manager) Howie (Roseman’s) post-pick presser he hinted at the fact that there was a short list of guys they were comfortable taking in the 2nd rd but that they went off early. Can you ask around for some names that they may have took at 53 had they been there so we can agonize over it for the next 5 years. Also, was (Kristian) Fulton off the board for behavior? Adam Caplan: My understanding is that had they not selected Jalen Hurts, they would have likely targeted S Jeremy Chinn at that pick (#53). Chinn went off the board with the last pick of the round. His NFL Combine workout numbers were very strong for his size (6-3, 221, 4.45, 20 reps on bench). As for the players they would have considered there if they dropped to them and not selected Hurts, I believe K.J. Hamler would have been a strong consideration. Peter King, from NBC Sports, noted that they also would have targeted RB J.K. Dobbins, who I believe had a 2nd-round grade from the Eagles. As for Fulton, I don’t believe he was off their board. From Customer Reviews on Apple (Reagor Bomb): Because I’m not buying the (Saints QB) Taysom Hill gimmick plays P.R. BS, does the shocking pick of (Jalen) Hurts in round two expose that the Eagles front office has legit concerns about (Carson) Wentz’s ability to stay healthy and long-term durability? Adam Caplan: So, here’s what I have on this in a nutshell: - They wanted to upgrade their #2 QB job, perhaps potentially significantly. And Hurts will not just be used as a typical QB; you’ll see him occasionally on the field potentially in the red zone, goal-line, 3rd down situations once he’s up to speed on their offense. That’s where the Tayson Hill comparison/role comes in. He’s not exactly built like him, but you may see Hurts used as a situational player (not just a QB) this season.

- They also wanted to have the #2 QB around for more than 1-2 seasons. - They also wanted to spend less salary cap dollars and cash on the backup QBs. You’ll recall how much they spent on Chase Daniel, Nick Foles, and Josh McCown. So, they’re taking a much different approach this year on spending on the backup QBs. While Wentz’s injury history plays into the decision to spend a premium pick to a degree, they really wanted to get a player for that #2 QB job that has the potential to play at a very high level if he has to play. I’m just not used to seeing teams take a backup player in the 2nd round, but after checking into the situation, I understand why they did it. And as one team said to me recently, if this works, you’ll start to see other teams doing this over the coming seasons. From Customer Reviews on Apple (Eagsroock20): Hey guys love the podcast! As a huge temple fan wanted to know if you think I should invest in (6th-round pick LB) Shaun Bradley jersey? I think I’d only get his jersey is he outlasts his rookie deal but don’t want to get him if he gets cut in year 1 or 2 curious to get your thoughts. Adam Caplan: Bradley doesn’t project to make their opening day roster, as I don’t see them keeping more than 5 LBs. He fits in as a special teams player at the next level (Nate Gerry, T.J. Edwards, Duke Riley, Jatavis Brown, Davion Taylor should all be on the roster.) Not having an off-season will impact a late-rounder or UDFA in terms of making the roster because they’re not going to get enough practice reps to show coaches what they’re able to do. I know from talking to a Temple football source, teams that checked in commented how they really like his football character, smarts, toughness. Realistically, he’ll be on their practice squad this season and works his way up to the active roster over time. From Customer Reviews on Apple (Abduljabri): Do you think (executive VP/General Manager) Howie (Roseman’s) position is safe or do you think there’s a possibility of the eagles moving on from him if his moves do not work out? Adam Caplan: I have not gotten that feeling that his job status is tenuous at all. Since Roseman got full personnel control in 2016 (first time in his career he had control of draft, free agency, and 53-man roster), they’ve made the playoffs 3 straight seasons and won a Super Bowl over that time span. While Roseman deserves a lot of credit, so should the coaches. Doug Pederson has shown to be a top-10 NFL head coach over that time, especially the past three seasons. I get the criticism that fans have had for some of the draft picks over that time (2016 class outstanding, 2017 draft class looks dubious as of now, 2018 strong, 2019 has not gotten off to a good start, but it’s too early to really know.) His free agency moves have been mostly very solid. In fact, that’s probably the area where he has excelled the most. This draft seemed very analytics based, but time will tell how good they are. Question from InsideTheBirds.com: Do you guys think there’s a specific TYPE of receiver that Carson Wentz needs to be most effective? Someone with a certain size or catch radius? Adam Caplan: This is an interesting question. It’s not really about size with Wentz or other QBs; it’s about being a dependable passing target. Meaning the WR or TE needs to run the right routes, get open and not drop the ball. It’s really about the trust the QB has in the guys he’s throwing to. What we started to see late last season was Wentz, despite working with a bunch of street free agent WRs or practice squad type of WRs and TEs due to injuries, threw caution to the wind and got them involved (see Greg Ward, Josh Perkins, Deontay Burnett, Robert Davis). That was actually a sign of growth for Wentz in terms of throwing them open and helping make them better. Geoff Mosher and I talked earlier last season on Inside The Birds about how Wentz needed to trust his pass targets more. He did just that, which is a big reason why they made the playoffs. What’s going to be interesting over the next few years is that he’s going to have a lot of new passing targets at WR (3 rookie WRs+veteran WR Marquise Goodwin) and how quickly he can develop timing etc with them is going to be a key in the development of their passing game. Question from InsideTheBirds.com: Following draft do you see any move for free agents like (DE Jadeveon) Clowney... maybe even the DE from Jacksonville (Yannick Ngakoue)... 2021 draft pick. Adam Caplan: They’re pretty much set in terms of any big moves for now. The Darius Slay trade was the one big move that they had on their radar since last October’s trade deadline. They were actually fairly close to trading for him then. As for Ngakoue, the urgency for the Jaguars to move him could pick up closer to whenever training camps open then again right before the season starts (see the Khalil Mack trade from a few seasons ago.) The Eagles still need to add a veteran RB (that should happen well before training camp starts), a veteran CB (who can play on the outside). I have not heard any names there as of now, but it’s hard to imagine they’ll open the season with what they have there opposite Slay. They only need one guy to add, but a veteran who can play on the outside that can bring in competition and depth to that position would be a smart move. Question from InsideTheBirds.com: Could the Jalen Hurts pick be part of a plan for a trade for Yannick Ngakoue? Whether it was a pick and trade or allow them to trade (QB Nate) Sudfeld now that the Jags may see the market price lower after the (LT) Trent Williams trade? Adam Caplan: Just from talking to a Jaguars source, Gardner Minshew is their starting QB for at least this season. He’s a pretty amazing story of development. I would have not believed it from spending two days at their training camp, but he really surprised a lot of people around the NFL with his high level of play from several games last season. As for Ngakoue, my understanding the Eagles do have some interest in him, but nothing is going on currently with that situation. Like every NFL team, cash budgets are down after the first few weeks of free agency and they have some real challenges with the salary cap next season, and also have some other extensions to consider coming up as the weeks progress this season. The urgency for the Jaguars to trade Ngakoue could pick up the closer we get to the regular season (whenever it starts). They know he doesn’t want to play for him, which he has made clear to them privately as well as publicly.

Keep in mind the Raiders declined all overtures to deal DE to deal Khalil Mack in the offseason, but their urgency picked up in August and they relented and dealt him to the Bears. The Raiders, I’m told, did discuss the possibility of trading for Ngakoue, but they did not want to give up draft capital and give him a major contract at the same time. They are very high on 2nd-year DE Maxx Crosby and spent the 4th pick overall on DE Clelin Ferrell last season. Ngakoue is an outstanding speed rusher and those type of DEs are very hard to find. Question from InsideTheBirds.com: With the past Eagles history who do you think of the 2 late picks we that were drafted do you think has best chance to make the team? Adam Caplan: Because of the reality that there is no expectation that the players will have an offseason, it will be very hard for late-round picks and UDFAs to make a team’s roster. Not getting 15-20 offseason practices with on field performance is the reason. However, had we had a normal offseason, 7th-round pick DE Casey Toohill would have a legit shot because the Eagles need a younger pass rusher to develop into the rotation at that position. I woukdn't rule out him making their roster, but it's going to be much harder than it normally would be for a late-round pick. There are some UDFAs will discuss on future shows that at least will be practice squad consideration.


From Customer Reviews on Apple (z-willy):


How many games do you think the NFL season can be and still be considered viable? The 1982 strike season had 9 games and expanded the playoffs. 1987 strike year had 15 games (12 real games).


If they don’t want the SB played after February, then the latest the playoffs could start would be the first weekend in February. For a 17-week season, that means the latest date of opening would be Oct 10th.


Adam Caplan: The NFL feels that there will be a full season (the schedule will be this week with a full 16-game season).


They will react accordingly if the season won’t be able to start on time; meaning you can expect they’ll have contingency schedules ready to go.


It all starts with the health of the team, the organization, and the public, but the last thing they’ll want to do is shorten the season due to the potential monetary losses that they would incur.


What you listed is what they did when faced with issues that caused a shorter schedule from decades ago. Things have changed in terms of money involved starting with television and all streams of revenue.


If they have to shorten the season or delay it, you can reasonably expect the Super Bowl to be pushed back at least a few weeks. If they start the season 3-4 weeks late, they still won’t want to shorten the season if at all possible. A delay could potentially not only push the Super Bowl back, but the offseason could start later (meaning NFL Combine and free agency could start later than usual—pushing to late March, early April). The other alternative is just to start the season late, keep Super Bowl timeline intact, but push the offseason back 3-4 weeks.


We’ll discuss this in depth if the reality is that season winds up being delayed. Another potential issue is the start of training camps. No one can reasonably say when they’ll take place.

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