Jerod Evans ‘got the message’ about Philadelphia Eagles’ QB landscape before signing
PHILADELPHIA — The Eagles didn’t need to lay out their plans for former Virginia Tech quarterback Jerod Evans.
Before signing with the team as an undrafted free agent this spring, Evans surveyed the Birds’ depth chart at quarterback. He noticed they were planning to build around 24-year-old signal-caller Carson Wentz, and he spotted Nick Foles and Matt McGloin on the roster as veteran insurance behind the franchise’s centerpiece.
Right then, Evans understood what was in front of him: The Eagles weren’t in need of a starter or an immediate backup, but they wanted to bring the former Hokie into the fold to keep a pipeline of young and talented quarterbacks flowing.
“I kind of got the message,” Evans said Friday after the Eagles opened rookie minicamp. “They drafted Wentz last year in the first round, second pick. So I knew what the situation was. But again, I wanted to come here knowing that they will mold me into hopefully one day a great quarterback in this NFL.”
The Eagles voice their ideas to add inexpensive rookie quarterbacks earlier this offseason. While Wentz’s status as the offense’s lynchpin remains secure, Philadelphia doesn’t want to shy away from finding gems at the position and grooming signal-callers.
Philadelphia Eagles rookie quarterback Jerod Evans discusses expectations
Evans fits the mold as a potential NFL contributor who slipped through the NFL draft’s cracks. In his only season of action at Virginia Tech, Evans completed 63.5 percent of his passes and threw 29 touchdowns to eight interceptions
The 6-foot-3, 238-pound quarterback also has the size to play in the NFL. He’s got the mobility, too; Evans ran for 846 yards and 12 scores with the Hokies last season.
Some experts figured a team would grab Evans in the mid-to-late rounds of the draft, but the Texas native slipped through cracks, perhaps in part due to his lack of experience and questions about his ability to mature into a consistently accurate passer.
Evans said he felt more grateful to be in Philly than slighted about winding up undrafted. He is, however, willing to keep the doubts about his play in the back of his mind.
“Any little thing that I can make motivation is going to be motivation for me,” Evans said.
The end goal for Evans is to earn an NFL roster spot and make a difference as a quarterback in the league. The Eagles present him an opportunity to start the march toward professional relevancy, and he’s is in position to stay with the team at least through this summer’s training camp.
The best-case scenario for Evans would be to edge McGloin for the Eagles’ No. 3 quarterback spot. In the situation, the Birds might want to place Evans 53-man roster or keep him on the practice squad, where they could stash him away, assuming no other team swoops in to sign the 23-year-old.
In Philadelphia, Evans will work under highly regarded quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo, while offensive coordinator Frank Reich and head coach Doug Pederson each played the position in the NFL for more than a decade.
It seems like an appropriate environment to nurture quarterbacks, Evans said. Plus, the Eagles were aggressive in attempting to sign him as the post-draft flurry of phone calls and offers unfolded.
So, when Evans considered his options in free agency and scanned the Eagles’ roster, he figured the Birds afforded him the best chance to reach his potential.
“That requires preparation — just the little details, the integral parts of a quarterback that you need at this level,” Evans said. “I believe they can help me do that. And they were excited to pursue me, so it was mutual.”