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Quarterback ‘in play’ for Philadelphia Eagles in 2021 NFL Draft

Philadelphia Eagles: 2021 NFL Draft
Jan 11, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Justin Fields (1) against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2021 CFP National Championship Game. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

When the Philadelphia Eagles shocked the world by drafting Jalen Hurts, it created a domino effect for the organization that eventually resulted in the Carson Wentz trade. With their franchise quarterback now gone and his suspected heir waiting in the wings, Philadelphia could have even crazier plans for the 2021 NFL Draft.

As soon as Wentz went out the door, with a 2021 third-round pick and a conditional 2022 second-round pick headed to Philadelphia, many assumed Hurts would become the starter. Even before the trade, new head coach Nick Sirianni said there would be a quarterback competition this summer. With the disgruntled Wentz gone, the job seemingly would belong to Hurts.

Philadelphia Eagles draft picks: Top selections, ideal 2021 NFL Draft targets after Carson Wentz trade

Unfortunately for the former No. 53 overall pick, he might find himself in the same spot his predecessor was just a year ago.

Philadelphia Eagles rumors: Team could target a quarterback in 2021 NFL Draft

The Athletic’s Sheil Kapadia, who has covered the team for years, recently wrote about where things stand for the Eagles. While there have already been big changes this offseason, more are likely coming and that includes this team drafting a quarterback for the second consecutive year.

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If there’s one thing you can say about owner Jeffrey Lurie, it’s his willingness to roll the dice on a quarterback. From drafting Donovan McNabb in 1999, trading up for Wentz in the 2016 NFL Draft to selecting Hurts when no one expected them to draft a passer. If the organization identifies a player who can improve the team, regardless of position, it will draft them. Ultimately, Kapadia believes that the Eagles drafting a quarterback is in play.

Philadelphia won’t have a shot at Trevor Lawrence, projected to be the No. 1 overall pick in the latest mock drafts. With the Jets sitting at the No. 2 spot and Sam Darnold being discussed around the league, Zach Wilson could be in play for that spot. With the Atlanta Falcons still committed to Matt Ryan for next season, there’s a chance a top quarterback prospect slides.

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Fields’ standing in the 2021 NFL Draft has taken a hit. The physical talent and leadership abilities are undeniable, but there are concerns about Ohio State largely running a one-read offense. We’ve seen quarterbacks in that system struggle adjusting to the NFL. Unsurprisingly, it’s a red flag that leaves teams having some concerns.

With that said, Fields might prove to be a steal at the No. 6 overall pick. He has drawn some comparisons to Dak Prescott, but his ceiling could be slightly higher. He also made quite the impression in the College Football Playoff Semifinal, doing laps around Trevor Lawrence and the Clemson Tigers.

Hurts showed flashes in his rookie season and might have even become the preferred quarterback in the locker room. But he completed just 52% of his passes last season and a 77.6 passer rating leaves a lot to be desired. He was expected to be a multi-year project at quarterback, but the Eagles rushed him.

While it would surprise some on draft day, landing Justin Fields or Zach Wilson would make the Philadelphia Eagles winners of the 2021 NFL Draft.