Eagles reserve quarterback Nate Sudfeld isn’t a big fan of the NFL draft.
He said he hasn’t watched the latest crop of rookies excitedly don the hats of their new teams since he was doing it himself in 2016.
Because of his disinterest in the event, Sudfeld wasn’t on the edge of his chair, tirelessly analyzing mock drafts and big boards when the Eagles were on the clock with the No. 53 pick in April. When the team used that pick on Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts, Sudfeld wasn’t among the Eagles players and fans immediately reacting to the polarizing pick.
The news reached him sometime later.
“I got an update that that’s what happened and accepted it,” Sudfeld said. “It wasn’t going to change my approach. You can never have too many good quarterbacks in a room and we’ve kind of been an example of that, I feel like, the last few years since I’ve been here. Nothing in this league overly surprises, but it definitely didn’t change my approach. I knew I was still going to have a good opportunity.”
So far, Sudfeld has been right about the opportunity he has going into this season. After spending each of the last three years as the third-string quarterback behind Carson Wentz backups Nick Foles and Josh McCown, Sudfeld has another chance to secure the backup spot.
He had the job within reach last training camp before breaking his left wrist in the preseason opener, which led to the team bringing in McCown.
This summer, his job is to fend off Hurts for the QB2 role before the season begins. There has been excitement surrounding Hurts, a dual threat who has blown the Eagles away, according to an NFL Network report. But Eagles coach Doug Pederson gave Sudfeld a vote of confidence on Thursday.
“Nate is our No. 2, and obviously Jalen is still learning,” Pederson said. “Jalen, he’s done some really good things for us. ... He’s got some athleticism. We’ve seen that in practice. But Nate has done a nice job for us, and Nate has come in and really done everything we’ve asked him to do from a backup position. ... Every position is being evaluated, obviously, but to answer your question, Nate is right now our No. 2.”
Sudfeld and Hurts have split the reps with the second-team offense during camp, with Sudfeld getting the slight majority of the snaps. During a live-contact drill during Friday’s practice, the Eagles used Sudfeld with the first-team offense, presumably shielding Wentz from the more physical series of plays and getting Sudfeld reps with the group. While Hurts has gotten plenty of reps in practice, the early indications are that Sudfeld has an edge early on.
Still, the former Indiana quarterback isn’t getting comfortable with his current spot above Hurts.
“You learn in this league never to assume anything,” said Sudfeld, a sixth-round pick by Washington in the 2016 draft. “It’s a broken record, but rent is due every day. You’ve got to make sure that you bring it. So I’m definitely not taking anything for granted.”
Sudfeld might not know much about the draft profiles of his rookie teammates, but he said he’s been impressed by the class as a whole, especially Hurts.
As a prospect, Hurts was considered at his best when using his athleticism to take off and run or extend plays. The reason he slid into the second round of the draft after a decorated career at Alabama and Oklahoma was due to concerns about his ability to make tight-window throws accurately and on time. Sudfeld thinks those criticisms are overblown, based on his training-camp performance.
“He can really spin it,” Sudfeld said. “Everyone thinks he’s an athletic guy, which obviously he is, but he can really spin it and he’s really smart in the [meeting] room, so he’s been great to have in the film room.