Quarterback is a position Howie Roseman has said repeatedly the past couple of years that the Eagles will invest heavily in.
After cutting ties with Nick Foles last week, sending the Super Bowl-winning quarterback into free agency, Roseman has some investing to do. The Eagles executive vice president of football operations has a QB cupboard with just two items at the moment – Carson Wentz and Nate Sudfeld.
“We’ll explore every option for our football team to improve our football team,” Roseman told reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine last Wednesday. “But we have a lot of confidence in Nate. He’s had an incredible opportunity to learn from two of the best quarterbacks in the National Football League (in Wentz and Foles) and this is a big opportunity for him and a big year for him. We’re real excited about Nate Sudfeld.”
Foles is expected to sign with the Jacksonville Jaguars when free agency, and the NFL’s new league year, begin on March 13. The Eagles will probably bring in a veteran as well.
The market isn’t exactly populated with appealing names, however.
Teddy Bridgewater is intriguing. He’s just 26, but would probably be looking for an opportunity to at least compete to be the starter. That won’t happen with Wentz entrenched as the top cat.
Tyrod Taylor makes a little sense, since he has some skills that lend themselves to a read-option attack, such as the Eagles like to use. He is 30, and would likely be willing to accept a backup job.
A few others include Josh McCown, who turns 40 on the Fourth of July and has been in the league for 16 seasons and certainly qualifies as that veteran-type backup, Robert Griffin, III, 29, and Trevor Siemien, 27.
It is also very likely that the Eagles cash one of their eight draft picks in April for a quarterback.
“You can go either way,” head coach Doug Pederson said at the Combine. “Go with the younger guy, bring in a veteran free agent, but at the same time I want Nate to compete for it and see where he’s at … We just don’t hand out jobs.”
The last time the Eagles took a quarterback not named Wentz was when they traded up to make the first selection of the fourth round back in 2013, then picked USC’s Matt Barkley, the 98th player taken overall. That was Chip Kelly’s first draft as the team’s ill-fated head coach, and Barkley never panned out in Philly.
In 2012, the team took Foles in the third round. Before Foles, they drafted Northwestern’s Mike Kafka with their second selection in the fourth round of the 2010 draft.
So it is time to draft another one, and that is always fun.
This is a QB class, however, that doesn’t jump out at you.
In my opinion there is not a quarterback in this draft worthy of being taken in the top 10. Kyler Murray, Dwayne Haskins and Daniel Jones feel like real stretches, but because the position is valued well above all others by team executives, teams will reach.
The Eagles can bide their time until, perhaps, the fourth round, where Tyree Jackson could still be hanging around.
The University of Buffalo QB did well at the NFL Scouting Combine over the weekend, recording a 4.59 time in the 40-yard dash and a 34-inch vertical leap. At 6-7, that’s pretty good.
In the throwing drills, he showed a big arm, though had a hard time keeping the ball down. So he would need to work in mechanics. Accuracy and decision-making also need to be sharpened, but the Eagles would have time to develop him.
Some others the Eagles may learn to like as the draft draws closer and will likely be available in the fourth or fifth rounds:
• Kyle Shurmur, Vanderbilt, 6-4, 225. The son of Giants head coach Pat Shurmur, Kyle went to La Salle College High School and, while his father worked as Kelly’s offensive coordinator, was a ball boy during training camp prior to his senior year of high school. He completed 63 percent of his passes for 3,130 yards, 24 touchdowns and six interceptions last year. As a junior, he completed 58 percent of his throws for 2,823 yards with 26 TDs and 10 INTs.
• Jarrett Stidham, Auburn, 6-2, 214. His numbers weren’t bad last year (61 percent completion, 2,794 yards, 18 TDs, five INTs), but he was underwhelming in too many games. Still, as a developmental project, he would be perfect.
In the sixth and seventh rounds or as free agents:
• Brett Rypien, Boise State, 6-2, 200. He is the nephew of Mark Rypien, who quarterbacked the Redskins to two Super Bowls once upon a time. Last year, Brett completed 67 percent of his throws for 2,705 yards, 30 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
• Easton Stick, North Dakota State, 6-2, 221. That’s right, the same school that produced Wentz now brings you Stick. Great name, but not ready for NFL primetime despite a senior season that saw him throw for 2,554 yards with 26 TDs and five INTs while running for 11 scores. He did not impress athte East-West Shrine Game, struggling with field vision, decision-making, and ball security.
• Trace McSorley, Penn State, 6-0, 200. One of the fiercest competitors you will see at the college level. McSorley ran the fastest 40 time of any quarterback at the Combine, but struggled with his throws. Still, he is a winner and somebody may want to stash him on their practice squad.