Eagles might regret DeVonta Smith choice, NFL insider suggests

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Why insider thinks Eagles might regret DeVonta Smith pick originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The Eagles' decision to trade up to No. 10 and select DeVonta Smith in last week's NFL Draft was viewed by most, from fans to draft analysts, as a victory. The Birds got a potential superstar in Smith at a position of need, and also acquired a future first-round pick as part of the initial trade down. Win-win.

But at least one expert and NFL insider believes the Eagles might actually come to regret the way they handled the first round this year, in such a crucial draft for the future of the franchise.

On NFL Network's Good Morning Football, the show's panelists were asked which team they believed would regret passing on a player who was still available at their pick.

Insider Peter Schrager chose the Eagles, and went on a mini-rant about the organization's seeming unwillingness to consider a quarterback this year:

"I'm fascinated by the Eagles' draft, because they went from having the sixth overall pick to trading back to 12 to trading back up to 10, and it seems like quarterback was never even a possibility. They're all-in on Jalen Hurts, at least for this year, and in doing so they pass on Justin Fields and Mac Jones.

"I know DeVonta Smith's a great wide receiver, but he is a wide receiver. If the Eagles pass on Mac Jones and Justin Fields, and those guys go on to be superstars, are we sure all the trading and all the moving was really necessary? Or do you say, 'Hey, let's stay at 6,' or even come up at 10, like you did, and get Fields? And have Fields be the quarterback, or Mac Jones? Because we're going to compare Jalen Hurts to quarterbacks in his own draft class, and Jalen Hurts is going to get compared to quarterbacks in his division - truly for me, it's Jalen Hurts straight-up against Mac Jones and Justin Fields. Because they could've taken either one of those guys if they were just sitting pretty at 6, or traded back up to 10 like they did. They don't. 

"Instead, they have a wide receiver and they have Jalen Hurts, who went 1-3 last year as the quarterback and doesn't have a huge sample size."

I think I know where Schrager is coming from here, but I don't fully agree with his argument. Let me explain.

I do agree that the Eagles should've been thinking about quarterback in the first round this year. I like Hurts and I think he can be a solid starter in the right situation, but you usually need exceptional quarterback talent to consistently win in the NFL, and historically you find that kind of quarterback talent in the first round. 

That being said, it's not fair to fault a process because of later results - it's confirmation bias at work. While you might not agree with the Eagles' decision to pass on QB this year, their draft process felt sound this year. They wanted to add assets for the future while picking versatile, high-upside players, and also keep their options open at QB. That's as good an approach as you can have after you unexpectedly trade away your franchise QB at the outset of his very expensive four-year deal.

I also don't think Jones is very good, and while I like Fields, he's not a sure thing. So maybe the Eagles' scouts and evaluators looked at this year's quarterback crop and didn't like what they saw from either player. Choosing one of those two just because they're quarterbacks, even if your scouts are telling you not to, is the definition of bad and disjointed process.

There's a chance one of Fields or Jones becomes a very good-to-elite starter in this league, and that Hurts does not. But I won't lose sleep over the Eagles drafting the way they did this year.

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