Eagles GM Howie Roseman Is About to Get His Best Look at Jalen Hurts’ Potential Risky Replacement

Article Highlights:

  • Philadelphia Eagles general manager Howie Roseman will see Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett and North Carolina star Sam Howell play on Thursday, Nov. 11
  • The two ACC standouts are each currently expected to go in the 2022 NFL draft’s first round
  • The Eagles need to rethink selecting the 23-year-old as Jalen Hurts’ potential replacement

If the clock hasn’t struck midnight for Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts just yet, the hand is rapidly approaching the X. 

For you younger readers, an X means 10 p.m. Or 22:00.

The Eagles are still trying to determine if Hurts, who has had an inconsistent sophomore season, is the long-term option at quarterback. General manager Howie Roseman is already sending messages that he may have already determined the answer is a resounding “no.”

Howie Roseman will see Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett and North Carolina star Sam Howell up close on Nov. 11

We’ve reached the point in the calendar where NFL teams are flooding Power 5 schools to see the top draft prospects. Sixteen teams, several of which are likely to pursue quarterbacks in next spring’s draft, traveled to Oxford, Miss., to see Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral and Liberty quarterback Malik Willis square off on Saturday, Nov. 6.

The Eagles were in attendance that day, and they’ll have another top quarterback prospect in their line of sight on Thursday, Nov. 11. Luckily for Roseman and anyone else from the organization, they won’t even need to leave the Quaker State.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Roseman will be one of five general managers attending the showdown between the University of Pittsburgh and the University of North Carolina at Heinz Field. Two draft-eligible prospects, Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett and North Carolina’s Sam Howell, will square off on Thursday night.

Pickett, a fifth-year senior from New Jersey, completed 68.7% of his passes for 3,171 yards, 29 touchdowns, and three interceptions in his first nine games this season. Howell, a true junior, completed 63.1% of his passes for 2,408 yards, 20 touchdowns, and seven interceptions. The mobile quarterback also totaled 699 yards and eight touchdowns.

The Eagles need to rethink spending first-round selections on either quarterback

Even while knowing how dangerous it is to assume, let’s nonetheless assume the Eagles will use one of their three first-round picks on a quarterback in April 2022. As of Nov. 11, 2021, the Eagles would pick third, seventh, and 14th in next year’s draft.

Tankathon currently mocks LSU cornerback Derek Stingley Jr., Michigan edge-rusher Aidan Hutchinson, and Mississippi State offensive tackle Charles Cross to the Eagles in that order. That’s far from a bad haul, especially with how dominant Cross has been for the Bulldogs in 2021.

But wait, what about Howell and Pickett? Tankathon has the Carolina Panthers selecting Pickett at No. 13 overall, one pick before the Eagles use their third first-round pick, and Howell going 22nd overall to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

If the Eagles aren’t sold on Hurts, there’s no reason to take a risk with either of those quarterbacks. The argument for Howell can’t be his athleticism and rushing ability when the Eagles have a player who fits that mold right now in Hurts. Yes, the North Carolina standout is a superior passer, but he has a history of forcing throws. 

Then, there’s Pickett, who will be 24 at the start of next season. It’d be a heartwarming story to see the New Jersey kid and Pittsburgh star stay relatively close in Philadelphia, but his age and sudden production jump in 2021 should raise major red flags.

Pickett is a limited passer, which works in the ACC and against mediocre out-of-conference foes. Don’t expect him to have the same success against Dallas Cowboys cornerback Trevon Diggs or New York Giants safety Xavier McKinney, each of whom starred at Alabama.

The Eagles should either stick with Hurts or try acquiring a marquee name next spring

As we talk about who could replace Hurts in 2022, let’s give the Alabama and Oklahoma product credit for how he’s played thus far. The second-year quarterback completed 61.5% of his passes for 1,981 yards, 11 touchdowns, and four interceptions in the Eagles’ first nine games. He also ran for 494 yards and five touchdowns on an even six yards per carry.

All in all, Hurts has played fine, especially considering the Eagles are in rebuilding mode and trying to move on from the last remnants of the 2017 Super Bowl team. He’s meshed well with rookie receiver DeVonta Smith, his former Alabama teammate, and tried succeeding despite the Eagles’ offensive line issues.

If the Eagles are going to replace Hurts, then they should at least target a proven veteran quarterback. The now-remorseful Aaron Rodgers could be available next offseason, as could Houston’s Deshaun Watson. However, the latter’s pending legal issues could still present problems regarding his availability.

There could be a parade of other available quarterbacks ranging from Denver Broncos veteran Teddy Bridgewater to Seattle Seahawks legend Russell Wilson. We might even see New York Jets fan-favorite Mike White and his profane nickname hit the open market.

Or, the Eagles can continue adding weapons and re-evaluate the quarterback market in 2023. At this point, there is no reason to believe Howell or Pickett are better choices to help the Super Bowl 52 champions return to NFC East title contention. If Roseman feels otherwise, we’re free to have this exact same conversation in November 2023.

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