Heading into the 2021 NFL draft, there was some speculation that the Philadelphia Eagles might target one of the top quarterback prospects. The Eagles had second-year signal-caller Jalen Hurts on the roster, but not everyone was reportedly sold on the Oklahoma product.
Hurts, after all, had shown promise during his brief 2020 audition but was far from a known commodity. According to ESPN's Chris Mortensen, it was team owner Jeffrey Lurie who made the final call to stick by Hurts.
"I would not report the Eagles have internal unanimity on Hurts as QB1 but sources say the boss, Jeffrey Lurie, has instructed his group to prioritize making Hurts successful in 2021 as opposed to creating a true competition," Mortensen tweeted.
Of course, Mortensen's report came a month before the draft, a time during which smokescreens are prevalent.
This wasn't a smokescreen, though. The Eagles ultimately traded down from No. 6 to No. 12, passed on a quarterback in Round 1, and even traded back up to snag Alabama wideout DeVonta Smith with the 10th overall selection.
Smith and Hurts spent two seasons together with the Crimson Tide before Hurts transferred from Alabama to Oklahoma.
Now that the Eagles have made Hurts their new franchise quarterback—and have finally given him a No. 1 receiver—the 22-year-old is going to face the pressure of a make-or-break season. Philadelphia has put a lot of effort into making Hurts "the guy" and is going to expect results.
How We Got Here
Carson Wentz isn't the quarterback with a statue outside of Lincoln Financial Field. That honor belongs to former backup Nick Foles, who steered the ship during the 2017 postseason and helped Philadelphia bring home the Lombardi Trophy.
Wentz spent that postseason sidelined by a torn left ACL, but he had been playing at an MVP level before the injury and there was little doubt that he was the Eagles' quarterback of the future. Over the next two years, though, injuries and inconsistencies repeatedly cast doubt on Wentz's future, and on April 24, 2020, Philadelphia drafted Hurts in the second round.