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Eagles Extra Q & A: Are we closer to Jalen Hurts’ ceiling than we think?


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Eagles Extra Q & A: Are we closer to Jalen Hurts’ ceiling than we think?

Updated: Jan. 30, 2022, 7:10 a.m. | Published: Jan. 30, 2022, 6:30 a.m.


By Chris Franklin | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

While four teams are preparing to play on Championship Sunday, the Eagles are in the process of scouting for the NFL draft and assessing their needs for the 2022 season. While this is going on, there are questions about who will return to the team next season in the front office and the coaching staff after multiple members of the organization have been interviewed for jobs with other teams in the league.

NJ Advance Media Eagles beat reporter Chris Franklin held a 45-minute exclusive Q&A session with our Eagles Extra text subscribers on Friday to answer questions about those things and more.

Here are some of the questions from Friday’s Q & A:

Q: Who are the best fits at WR for the Eagles in the draft and free agency? Best fits in terms of scheme & offensive style. It seems like University of Arkansas’ Treylon Burks would be perfect and can do it all as a WR.

A: Burks would be a good fit, in my opinion. I’d also look at Alabama receiver John Metchie III, who could be available in the 2nd or 3rd round. It’s another high pick for a WR, but I think he would be a better fit and a replacement for Jalen Reagor. I also would take a hard look at Chargers WR Mike Williams. Williams is familiar with how head coach Nick Sirianni likes his routes run and would be the veteran, reliable presence the Eagles could use in the WR room.

Q: The talent gap between where the Eagles are today and the elite teams on display so far in the playoffs is huge. Are you confident that Howie and his staff are going to make the right personnel decisions to address the many needy areas instead of clinging to some lame notion of the best player available or sticking to their so-called board?

A: I was confident heading into this weekend, but given the news about Ian Cunningham, the level of confidence has gone down. Cunningham is the bridge between the scouting department and pro player personnel. He has a good eye on talent from his scouting background. The more people you lose like that, the tougher it is to replace them. I think the Eagles need to rely on the scouting department and not try to do anything too cute that would result in this coming back as a waste of a draft class, especially with all of these assets.

Q: Do you think that we’re closer to Jalen Hurts’ ceiling than we may think? He has an incredible work ethic, and he knows exactly what he has to work on, his dad is a football coach, and he’s known Brian Johnson since he was a kid, but he’s had the same issues since he was in college, and he’s addressed those issues, but he’s still struggled in those areas. Is it possible he’s already nearing his peak?

A: I honestly do not think so. I think he can still grow a lot in this offense a lot. Much of it will have to deal with experience and gut instinct. When a QB is in a new system, you can almost see in his eyes that he’s trying to go through all of his reads and checks and not let his talent flow. In my opinion, that happened with Hurts. As the season progressed (sans the playoff game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers), he let the game passing offense come naturally to him, in part by using the run game, not making the offense predictable. I think the book on Hurts should be written by at least Week 10 or Week 11 next season. If there is no significant improvement, we’ll need to clean the windows on that ceiling and await another quarterback coming to Philadelphia.

Q: What do you think priority "one” should be in the draft? I think it should be safety, but I don’t think (Notre Dame’s) Kyle Hamilton will be around unless they move up.

A: I think cornerback should be the top focus if Hamilton is gone. The status of Steve Nelson returning is uncertain, and Zech McPhearson and Tay Gowan are the primary outside options. If University of Cincinnati cornerback Ahmad "Sauce” Gardner or Clemson University’s Andrew Booth Jr. are available, I think they should grab them. After that, the focus should be edge rusher, linebacker, and interior offensive line.

Q: Do you think Jonathan Gannon is going to get a head coaching job?

A: I’m 60-40 that he will not in this cycle. He still is a top candidate for the Houston Texans gig, but with so many other candidates there, including Josh McCown, it may be tough for him to be hired. I think the Eagles should seriously prep for losing him in 2023.

Q: Hey guys, I appreciate what you are doing—more of a personal question for both Mike and Chris. Philly is known for being a tough place to play, a tough place to coach, and in some ways a tough place to cover with the amount of competition in the media. What do you see as the pros and cons of covering a team in Philly vs. a team with less intense market completion and a less intense fanbase? Thx!

A: Thanks for sending it in. It is tough to play, but it is also very rewarding. Growing up in this area, I always felt this city got a bad rep with people always pointing to the Santa Claus incident (which happened when Ed Sullivan was rising to fame, if that gives you an idea when). I think the cons are that there are times when there is a rush to conclusions about players, but that is every fan’s right to have those opinions because when it all comes down to it, the owners are stewards of the team.

It can move wherever, but the following will always remain close to the hearts of Eagles fans and former players everywhere. I still think a less interested fanbase is short-sighted for some players, and they would miss not being revered/loathed elsewhere.


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Simply put yes I think we are. 

I think there's hope that being so young (he's younger than Wentz was when he was drafted, he's younger than Pickett who's yet to be drafted) he's going to continue to improve. And there's merit in that for sure. 

But some of the things he struggles with I'm just not sure he is going to improve on enough. I hope I'm wrong on that though I really do. 

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The guy who asked the question hit the nail on the head. If he's been immersed in football his entire life what makes you think he is going to suddenly get it?

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2 minutes ago, Perforator said:

The guy who asked the question hit the nail on the head. If he's been immersed in football his entire life what makes you think he is going to suddenly get it?

Better coaching at this level perhaps?  Just guessing.  But as PD and others have mentioned frequently, I am not so sure what Hurts lacks can be taught.  Accuracy is usually something you either have or you don't ... I don't think it is something you learn (maybe there are some adjustments that help to make some improvement).  

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Nobody knows......the usual idiotic knee jerk reaction by fans and media is that if a guy hasn't progressed to a top 5 QB in 20 games then he's done.

Hurts has progressed.  Whether you can see it or not.  Andy Reid and some other big coaches have said it takes 2-3 years for a QB to master an offense.  The reason so many don't work out is because they don't get the chance to be in one offense for 3 years.  However, In the NFL 3 years can be an eternity to find out if a guy works out.  With the amount of HC changes and OC changes,  many times a QB won't get that chance due to the new coach wanting "his guy".  

The eagles used a 2nd round draft pick on Hurts.  Sirianni came in and embraced Hurts as his starter and he got better as the year went on.....but still inconsistent.

Next year, Hurts needs to show more right out of the gate and improve even more as the year goes on.  The eagles should be able to add more WR talent and will still have a top running game.  Hurts has all off-season, OTA's, training camp and preseason to digest as much as possible.  

But I do think Howie trades one of this year's first round picks for more picks and a 1st round pick next year to hedge his bet.

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