Andrew Luck, RG3, Ryan Tanehill, Brandon Weeden, Brock Osweiler, Russell Wilson, Nick Foles. In the 3rd round of the 2012 NFL Draft, with the 88th pick, the Eagles selected a 6'6 243 pound quarterback from Austin, Texas. The 7th QB off the board and the 4th pick for the Eagles. In 2011 Foles led the Pac-12 in total offense with 352.58 yards per game, but flew under the radar playing for a mediocre program at the Univertsity of Arizona.
The first thing that jumped out at me, and every scout, was Foles' size. If not for playing on a bad Arizona football team and being in a QB rich draft Foles could have been a late 1st or 2nd round pick. He was a productive signal caller at Arizona in his three years as starter. As a redshirt junior in 2010 Foles led the Wildcats to a 7-1 start, including an upset over #9 Iowa. Foles' strengths are evident, he has an extremely strong arm and the size that teams drool over. He is a mechanically sound passer with a solid release. He is a big time leader who rarely gets rattled. His ability to bounce back from a mistake or turnover is what separates good from great.
During his rookie season in 2012 Foles made his NFL Debut in week 10 after Vick left the game vs. the hated Cowboys in the second quarter to a concussion. Foles threw his first career touchdown in that game, a 44 yard pass to Jeremy Maclin. He went on to throw 22 of 32 for 219 yards, 1 score and a pick. Foles made his first career start the following week in a loss to the Washington Redskins. Foles broke his hand in week 16 and ended the season on IR. He finished the season with a 79.1 QBR, 1,700 passing yards and 6 touchdowns. Not eye popping numbers by any means, but there was potential.
Heading into the 2013 training camp new head coach Chip Kelly deemed it open competition for the starting QB spot between Michael Vick and Nick Foles. Oh yeah Matt Barkley was supposedly in the running too, but we all knew that was a long shot.
Here is what I wrote (regarding Vick vs. Nick) in a blog titled: "Vick, Foles & Chip" a year ago in January of 2013.
"It is all about finding a talented quarterback, not necessarily a mobile or athletic one. Now I am not completely sold on the Nick Foles bandwagon. I don't believe he is going to be the future of the Philadelphia Eagles. But right now I believe he is the best option for the Philadelphia Eagles. It is time to call it quits on the Michael Vick experience. Let Chip Kelly work with Foles and draft a QB that fits his system and can groom for the future."
Now as you can see I did not predict the breaking out party of Nick Foles, his Hall of Fame worthy 7 TD game, a league best 119.2 passer rating, a 7-1 run that propelled the Eagles to an NFC crown and a playoff berth, or his Pro Bowl MVP last night in Hawaii. But let the record show that I wanted Nick, not Vick under center to start the 2013 season (sorry Bruds). As I stated last year I was not sold on Foles as the future and even after his astonishing season I still believe that Eagles Nation as a whole may not be 100% sold but I do believe that Foles has the talent, the poise, the knowledge and the leadership to be a franchise QB for this team for a long time.
I wasn't sold on spending another year with the injury prone, mistake happy, past his prime Michael Vick and my notion proved true. Foles has what it takes to make this Chip Kelly offense work, and work well. He is athletic enough, smart enough and talented enough.
Foles finished the 2013 campaign as the unquestioned starter heading into 2014. He threw for 2,891 yards with a 64.0 completion percentage, 27 TDs and only 2 picks. He ranked 1st among NFL QBs in QBR with 119.2 (3rd best in NFL history), 1st in pass yards per play with 9.1, 1st in fewest INTs with 2, 7th in completion percentage, and 8th in TDs (with only 203 completions). He undoubtedly took the football world by storm and played his way into MVP talk. He went 238 passes without throwing an interception, the 8th best streak in NFL History, and tied an NFL record of 7 TDs in a game vs the Oakland Raiders.
Like Chip Kelly said from day one, he doesn't need a QB with quick feet to run his offense but a quick mind. It is evident that Foles has the mind and skills to flourish under Chip Kelly.
ESPN analyst and Super Bowl Champion Trent Dilfer agrees:
"But I look at Nick having a tremendous career in Philly. Not just a good one. A tremendous one."