The start the 2020 season has been a rocky one to say the least for the Philadelphia Eagles. It is no secret that the team is struggling to find a rhythm on offense with Carson Wentz under center. The Eagles drafted Wentz in 2016 with the hope of him being the starting quarterback of the future, but after getting injured in 2017 during his MVP-caliber run, he hasn’t been the same quarterback.
The Eagles still see him as the guy, but if they so happen to get the first overall pick in the draft, and with a generational talent like Trevor Lawrence available, the question needs to be asked…what would the Eagles do if they ended up with the #1 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft?
In 2016, the Eagles drafted one of the top prospects with Carson Wentz, who was predicted to be a franchise quarterback of the future. After coming out of North Dakota State, and competing with Jared Goff for the QB1 spot on most big boards, Wentz was taken second overall by the Birds. After a promising first season with some ups and downs, he showed he can be the guy for the Eagles. Wentz finished his 2016 campaign throwing for 3,782 passing yards, 16 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions. After averaging a little over a touchdown per interception ratio, he showed some inability to take care of the football. With it being his rookie year though, he showed the Eagles he can be their guy. Wentz had the ability to become a great quarterback in the NFL, and basing his first season as a point in his career is quite unfair. Most rookies don’t take the reigns in their first season and perform as the talent you think they are. The only few rookies to do so are Deshaun Watson, before tearing his ACL, and Lamar Jackson, who performed as an average quarterback in the NFL before making his MVP leap in the second season of his career. So in all considerations, Wentz was actually a very good player given it was his first year.
Wentz went on a great run with the Eagles in 2017 and was considered the front runner to win MVP that year. Wentz played in 13 games with an 11-2 record before getting hurt, but as if you think that was the reason for his success his stats show how truly remarkable he was in his second-year campaign with the Eagles. Through 13 games, he finished with 3,296 passing yards, with 33 touchdowns (a franchise record) and only seven interceptions; He added 299 rushing yards to go along with his passing stats. He was truly something special and was on his way to being the start of the ‘second-year standout’ before Patrick Mahomes started it in 2018. Wentz injured his knee against the Los Angeles Rams when he was trying to rush for a touchdown and his knee was collided with between two rams helmets.
Wentz came back from his injury in 2018 with a fire to pick up where he left off. However, after coming back he found himself dealing with multiple injuries (still recovering from the knee injury and a new back injury). Wentz’s injuries led him to only 11 games in his supposed ‘comeback season’. Finding himself with two shortened season in a row, Wentz’s position with the team was in question, and he knew that. Wentz’s career went from what could’ve been a top-three quarterback to an average quarterback in the league. He finished the 2018 season with a 5-6 record before being pulled with his injury before Week 15. With a losing record, he also finished with 3,074 passing yards, 21 touchdowns, and seven interceptions. At this point he hasn’t proved to the Eagles organization that he can stay healthy and produce consistently enough to deserve the role of being the franchise quarterback. Wentz had so much potential, but he hasn’t fully found it. He knows he needs to get back to where he was before his first injury in his MVP-type season.
Wentz was looking to bounce back, and he proved he was could stay healthy by playing all 16 regular-season games. Wentz finished with a record of 9-7, which was enough to lead the Eagles to a division title. His leadership was especially noticeable given the practice squad (lack of) talent he had to work with. Wentz threw for 4,039 passing yards (a franchise record), 27 touchdowns, and seven interceptions. Things were starting to look up once again.
This is the point at which we are now. At the time of this article the Eagles are coming off a tie against the lowly Cincinnati Bengals. Wentz has looked very bad through three games, and, personally, I’m losing some confidence in his future. Wentz has a lot of talent and he showed that when he led the comeback to tie the game on the last drive of the 4th quarter in the Bengals game. With that being said though, we are currently three games into the season, and he has thrown for 737 passing yards, three touchdowns, and six interceptions. Let it start to sink in we are three games in and he has almost reached his career season-high in interceptions (seven in 2017, 2018 and 2019). This is a prove-it year for him especially with his mega-contract kicking in. So far, he hasn’t shown that he is worth the long-term investment and can go back to being that guy we saw in 2017 on every single Sunday. So is he the Eagles quarterback of the future?
NFL Draft Scenarios
The Eagles are not playing their best football, but I want to run through some scenarios to show what the Eagles first-round position could look like. How the team is currently playing, the scenario of having the first overall pick isn’t too far fetched. If Wentz is in fact their guy, then they could trade down and potentially drafting someone like T Penei Sewell, or WR Ja’Mar Chase, or LB Micah Parsons. Or if they aren't sold on Wentz (or Jalen Hurts), they can select the next superstar quarterback -- Trevor Lawrence.
Trevor Lawrence is a lock to be the first overall pick in the 2021 Draft, and if the Eagles end up with the first overall pick, I truly believe they are going to take Trevor Lawrence. You take Trevor Lawrence and figure the rest out later. When you have the chance to get a quarterback as foolproof, and a generational talent like Lawrence that is what you have to do. He is a talent unlike any other, and with how young he is, and with the coaching he could get, he could become one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL in no time.
Earlier I had mentioned that no rookie quarterbacks ever seem to be a top-five quarterback in the league in their first season, but Lawrence could be the guy who performs as a top-five quarterback immediately. Wentz is still young and can lead a team, but he can’t beat out a talent like Trevor Lawrence. That’s why I feel they have no choice but with the first overall pick you have to take Lawrence, and figure the rest out later with Wentz.
Lawrence is one of the best quarterback talents I’ve ever scouted, the best talent since Andrew Luck came out of Stanford. Here are all of the notes I jotted on Lawrence when watching his film:
Trevor Lawrence is by far and away the best quarterback I’ve scouted. On top of being the best quarterback prospect I’ve scouted, he may just be the best quarterback prospect of all time. Lawrence has the elite caliber traits in every aspect I grade on, which is very uncommon to find. Lawrence has had the hype since he was a senior in high school, and the hype hasn’t died down (for good reason). He had a rocky start to his 2019 season, but the way he finished the sophomore season was much anticipated given the freshman season he had. Lawrence has elite athleticism and mobility that go hand in hand with his play style. Although not very fast per se, he is a play extension master. He is able to use his legs on designed run plays, execute run or pass options, and just adds time onto the play by moving outside the pocket.
He is an extremely athletic quarterback and very mobile. Along with athleticism, another key trait that I look at from the very start of the play is footwork. When Lawrence takes the snap, he is usually in a very athletic position. He plants off of his three -tep dropback and stays on the balls of his feet in order to allow him to make a quicker transition shall he have to move around into the pocket or outside the pocket. After his dropback, he is ready to fire. He stays calm when faced with oncoming pressure while still keeping his eyes downfield. With his eyes downfield, he is able to find the open receiver downfield in order to find the best available option.
I will say while he does a great job with keeping care of the ball, he does need to improve upon his ability to work through his progressions. It wasn’t apparent given his ability to still make plays on the field, he does struggle to work through progressions to see if there was maybe a better option with this passes.
While his progressions were the biggest weakness that I saw on his film, he still shows so many strengths in his game. Lawrence shows elite arm strength in his game film. Lawrence has shown the ability to fit the ball into tight window throws with zip, and he is also able to get the ball 50+ yards downfield. Now with that being said, most quarterbacks have great arm strength but aren't very accurate. Lawrence, however, has a very big arm with great accuracy as well. With his big arm and his great accuracy, that is what separates him from quarterbacks like Joe Burrow, Tua Tagovailoa, and Sam Darnold.
Lawrence stands out because of his ability to still take shots on risky throws and still put the ball in just the right spot for the receiver. He is an extremely poise quarterback when in the pocket, and with his ability to feel pressure coming onto him without panicking, he has all the traits that are going to allow him to be a top quarterback for years to come.
All of those words in italics show why you can’t afford to pass up on Lawrence if you have a chance to get him.
So the Eagles, if they decide to stick with Wentz, have a couple of different options they could go with if they get the first overall pick. In this situation of sticking with Wentz, they would probably be looking to trade back to acquire more draft picks. Trading away the number one pick would allow them to enhance their roster with more new and young talent to put them back as a title contender. It would give them the ability to get more depth on their offensive line, find more receivers, improve their linebackers, and add more players to a depleted secondary. Teams like the Jacksonville Jaguars, Minnesota Vikings, New York Jets, and New York Giants, who are struggling and unsure if they truly have their quarterback of the future, could try trading up for Lawrence.
The Eagles could find themselves trading back and getting a top-five or top-10 pick and getting a guy like CB Caleb Farley, WR Ja’Mar Chase, S Jevon Holland, LT Penei Sewell, OG Wyatt Davis, or LB Micah Parsons. There is a lot of talent that the Eagles could use and benefit from if given the opportunity to take them.
To be Continued
There are many scenarios that I went through, but I don't want to get too far into multiple players. If you want to hear more, I have weekly articles coming out with more takes of mine on the 2021 draft, and breakdowns from the players that I’ve scouted.