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One of the more creative minds in football is Eagles coach Doug Pederson.
One of the most brittle quarterbacks in football is Carson Wentz.
One of the most versatile and talented athletes in the draft is Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts.
Combine all of that, and you understand why the Philadelphia Eagles took Hurts in the second round on Friday in one of the more surprisingbut brilliantpicks of the draft.
Two teams with whom B/R communicated said they felt this was one of the best selections because it’s a perfect fit for both the Eagles and Hurts.
He’s not going to start over Wentz (duh), but we all know Wentz’s injury history; he tore his ACL and LCL in December of 2017, forcing him to miss the Eagles’ Super Bowl run.
That’s where Hurts comes in. The Sooners QB isn’t just a novelty player. He’s not the next incarnation of Taysom Hill. He’s a straight-up, hardcore pocket quarterback with running ability.
Pederson won’t simply groom Hurts for the future; he’s too good to just sit on the bench and wait. So Pederson will take advantage of that skill and athleticism and build packages for him.
While the easy comparison is to how the Saints have used Hill, the more apt equivalent for Hurts, according to one team, is the Texans’ Deshaun Watson.
Coming out of Clemson, Watson was 6’2″ and 221 pounds and ran a 4.66 40-yard dash. Hurts was measured at 6’1″ and 222 pounds and ran a 4.59.
Make no mistake: Watson is more talented, but one team executive believes that with Pederson’s coaching, Hurts can develop into a Watson-like player.
It could be a perfect situation for both Hurts and the Eagles.
And what about the other guy in Philly?
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Wentz will say all the right things about the Eagles’ decision to select Hurts at No. 53 overall, that the pick of a direct competitor for his job won’t bother him, that he’ll be a good teammate and mentor.
But this has got to bother the hell out of him.
The only downside to this move is the potential impact it has on Wentz. He won’t admit it, but it’s only logical that he’ll quickly start looking over his shoulder. Every time he misses a pass, any injury, will lead to speculation in the media that Hurts might start.
Wentz may play the part of the supportive teammate, but he has to know his status today isn’t as secure as it was yesterday.
Against the (offensive) grain
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As the second and third rounds started to unfold Friday night, the Packers’ decision to trade up into the first round and draft Utah State quarterback Jordan Love still had people around the NFL talking.
In the past, maybe 20 years ago, offenses were good with one or two star offensive players. If you had Michael Irvin, you didn’t necessarily try to find a second star receiver. Instead of using a high-round draft pick to get another Irvin, you used it to get a defensive star.
The philosophy of the great offenses today is different. Teams now believe in a theory described by one head coach with whom I spoke as “offensive overkill.”
Take the Chiefs, for example.
Kansas City already has one of the best offenses in the game. They have Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill, Mecole Hardman and Sammy Watkins. That is a remarkable amount of firepower.
So what does Andy Reid do with the team’s first round pick this year? He drafts a pass-catching running back in LSU’s Clyde Edwards-Helaire.
Reid’s theory is you cannot have enough offensive weapons. Just stockpile them. Like barrels of oil in the strategic reserve.
All the great offenses todaythe Ravens, the Saintsshare the same belief system. The Buccaneers also have embraced this philosophy; it’s just that Jameis Winston threw so many picks their effectiveness was less potent last season.
Then you have the Packers, who added running back AJ Dillon and tight end Josiah Deguara on Friday but still haven’t drafted a non-QB skill-position player (i.e. someone who Aaron Rodgers could use) in the first round in 15 years. Since Rodgers himself was drafted 24th overall in 2005, the highest drafted Packers skill player was Jordy Nelson in the second round 12 years ago (until Love on Thursday, that is).
Rodgers and the Packers have made it work overall and added their share of good offensive players. But taking some shots with first-round quality talents maximizes the chances of success.
The Chiefs and some of the best teams in the league get it.
The Packers are socially distancing from it.
No Geaux Bengals
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Cincinnati didn’t trade out of the first pick. That was smart. And the decision netted the franchise quarterback Joe Burrow.
The Bengals didn’t trade out of their opening second-round pick, and they added Clemson wide receiver Tee Higgins. Another smart selection.
There’s a theme here. While Albert Breer of The MMQB reported that the Bengals were looking to trade out of their first pick in the second round, one team said that when it spoke to Cincinnati, it didn’t seem interested in trading out of it at all.
Over the past few decades, the Bengals haven’t always seemed like they had a plan, and if they did, it was a putrid one.
Now, they seem resolute andgulpare making some wise moves. And through the first two days, it’s hard to argue they haven’t had one of the best drafts this year.
What a time to be alive.
Antonio Brown’s troubles aren’t over by any stretch
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Teams continue to check into the possibility of adding receiver Antonio Brown, but they keep coming to essentially the same conclusion: He likely will face a significant suspension.
The NFL has been investigating the accusations against him for months. Brown’s former trainer, Britney Taylor, said Brown sexually assaulted her and raped her, and another woman said he sent her threatening text messages after she had come forward and accused him of behaving inappropriately toward her.
While the NFL has yet to pass its final judgment, most of the league feels a significant punishment is on the way and could see him sidelined for an entire season.
There have been few missteps in this draft by either the NFL or the broadcasters, but the latter made a huge mistake Friday.
After receiver Tee Higgins was taken by the Bengals, some key stats were put on the screen. Unbelievably, one of the “stats” was about how his mom, Camillia, “fought drug addiction.”
Something so personal and powerful doesn’t belong in the same category as 40 times.
I was wrong
My instinct was to argue that the league should have delayed the draft and pushed it back to when things would be calmer. Show respect for the tens of millions of people without jobs and the tens of thousands who have lost their lives.
But the draft, as globally unimportant as it may be in these times, has been one of the most pleasant moments in a time filled with horrors. It has been a needed distraction.
Maybe more than ever.
Mike Freeman covers the NFL for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter: @mikefreemanNFL.
Tune in to our 2020 NFL Draft Show for live, in-depth analysis on what each pick means for your team, with hosts Adam Lefkoe, Matt Miller and Connor Rogers. No fluff, no B.S. Download the B/R app and watch starting Saturday, April 25, at noon ET.
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