What could Eagles be thinking taking a quarterback in Round 2 of NFL draft?
The Eagles had several different directions they could go in the second round of the NFL draft.
Quarterback was not considered one of those directions with Carson Wentz entrenched as the franchise quarterback, with a nine-figure contract to boot.
But the Eagles stunningly took Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts with their second-round pick, No. 53 overall on Friday night. The Eagles then took Colorado linebacker Davion Taylor in the third round, No. 103 overall.
But the second-round pick drew by far the most scrutiny.
Eagles general manager Howie Roseman said that when the team hired Doug Pederson to be the head coach in 2016, he told Pederson: "We're always going to be about the quarterback position," saying the goal is to surround Wentz "with as many good players as we possibly can."
Roseman said he talked to Wentz about the possibility of taking Hurts before the draft began on Friday. Wentz seemed to approve, saying on Twitter on Friday night: "Welcome to the best football city in America brotha!"
Roseman also stressed that nothing has changed with how the Eagles view Wentz, with Roseman making it a point to often refer to Wentz as their "Pro Bowl quarterback."
"We've shown how we feel about Carson by our actions," Roseman added. "We showed it by the amount of picks we put into him, and we showed it by the contract extension. We believe he's the guy to lead us to our next Super Bowl championship.
"But for better or worse, we are quarterback developers. We want to be a quarterback factory."
Roseman compared Hurts' situation to Nick Foles when he served as Wentz's backup in 2017 and 2018. Foles accepted his role, and got the chance to play in each season after Wentz suffered injuries towards the end of each season.
Foles then led the Eagles to the Super Bowl, winning the game's MVP award, and a playoff victory the following season.
Still, it is very unusual to use a second-round pick on a quarterback who ideally won't play over Wentz.
Even Hurts understood that, saying in a videoconference, "I have no idea what's going to happen."
Then he added: "I think it's just a great opportunity and I'm blessed to have this opportunity ... I'm looking forward to going to work."
Other teams have two starting caliber quarterbacks. The Green Bay Packers took a quarterback in the first round Thursday night in Jordan Love. But incumbent Aaron Rodgers is 36 years old, and Love could be groomed to take over sometime in the next few years.
That's not the case with Wentz, who is 27 years old and should be entering his prime. The Eagles insisted they're not sending a message to Wentz.
"There's no threat to Carson," Roseman said.
Then he added: "We think Carson is a phenomenal player. Nobody is going to be looking at a rookie quarterback as somebody who's going to be taking over for a Pro Bowl quarterback, a guy who's been on the cusp of winning an MVP."
Hurts, meanwhile, was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy last season after leading Oklahoma to the national semifinals.
Hurts, who's 6-foot-1, 222 pounds, began his college career at Alabama, and led the Crimson Tide to the national championship as a freshman in 2016 and a runner-up finish in 2017. But Hurts was benched at halftime of that championship game in favor of Tua Tagovailoa.
Hurts was Tagovailoa's backup the next season. Hurts then transferred to Oklahoma as a graduate student.
In his one season with the Sooners, Hurts ranked second to Heisman winner Joe Burrow in passing efficiency by completing 69.7 percent of his passes for 3,851 yards and 32 touchdowns with eight interceptions.
Hurts also led the Sooners in rushing with 1,298 yards and 20 rushing touchdowns.
Perhaps the Eagles see Hurts as a Taysom Hill replica with the New Orleans Saints, who comes on the field as a passer, runner or receiver from time to time in place of Drew Brees.
"Right now, I'm just excited about this opportunity and this moment, and ready to go to work," Hurts said.
But Eagles coach Doug Pederson said that's certainly a possibility.
"Jalen Hurts, obviously, he has a unique skill set," Pederson said. "You see what Taysom Hill has done in New Orleans, and he and Drew Brees have a connection there and a bond there.
"That's something that we're going to explore."
Then Pederson stressed that Hurts is "a good quarterback and he was drafted as a quarterback first."
Still, Hurts would add another dynamic player to the offense, albeit on a limited basis.
That's why it's a curious pick considering the Eagles had more pressing needs, like at defensive back and linebacker.
As the Eagles' second-round pick neared, there were still some players who were considered possible first-round picks. That included Baylor wide receiver Denzel Mims, Florida cornerback Kristian Fulton and Wisconsin linebacker Zach Baun.
The Eagles feel that Taylor will fill the need at linebacker. At 6-feet, 228 pounds, he ran a 4.49 in the 40-yard dash, meaning he can cover from side to side.
But Taylor is relatively new to football. He only played 1 1/2 games in high school because his family is Seventh Day Adventists, so he wasn't allowed to play football during the Sabbath on Friday night and Saturday.
Taylor's parents allowed him change that in college, which he began at Coahoma Community College in Mississippi, before moving on to Colorado.
As a senior last season, Taylor had 8.5 tackles for losses and tied for the team lead with 7 pass breakups.
It was the earliest the Eagles took a linebacker since Jordan Hicks went in the third round in 2015. But taking a linebacker there wasn't nearly as surprising as their second-round pick in Hurts.
Hurts said he knows how to adapt. After all, he already dealt with sitting at Alabama behind Tagovailoa.
"I continued to take steps and develop and develop, regardless of what the circumstances were," Hurts said. "And I know there isn't a ceiling. I don't put a ceiling on myself or my game."
Contact Martin Frank at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter @Mfranknfl.