Philadelphia Eagles: Why Nick Foles Is the Quarterback of the Future

Cody Swartz@cbswartz5Senior Writer IJune 11, 2012

Philadelphia Eagles: Why Nick Foles Is the Quarterback of the Future

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    The Philadelphia Eagles spent a third-round pick in the 2012 NFL draft on quarterback Nick Foles, raising the question as to whether Andy Reid believes Foles can be the eventual successor to Michael Vick. Foles is the third quarterback Reid has picked in the third round or higher, and the other two each became starters (or were given the opportunity, in the case of Kevin Kolb), so logic may show that Reid believes Foles is the quarterback of the future.

    Factor in Vick’s age and Reid’s job security, and I believe Eagles fans will be seeing a lot of Foles in the future. I want to address several key issues here, specifically why I believe Foles is the quarterback of the future and why I believe he will be a good quarterback.

The Background on Nick Foles

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    Nick Foles was taken in the third round out of the University of Arizona with the 85th overall pick. He was initially seen as high as an early second-round pick but saw his stock drop as players like Robert Griffin III and Ryan Tannehill rose to early first-round picks.

    Foles began at Michigan State University before transferring to Arizona where he took over as the full-time starter in 2009. Foles was a three-year starter, setting numerous career-highs as a senior, including completion percentage (69.1), passing yards (4,334) and touchdown passes (28). He’s a two-time team captain who holds numerous school records, and he’s a good enough athlete who was a team captain in basketball in high school.

The Scouting Report on Nick Foles

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    Pros: Nick Foles has a cannon of an arm, excellent size, and he protects the ball well. Foles has outstanding results at Arizona, and he can play through pain. Foles isn’t mobile, but he can sidestep the first defender, and he has the physical tools to develop into an NFL quarterback. He’s also a terrific leader and a very coachable player.

    Cons: Foles is a shaky decision maker who will definitely need to adjust to the NFL game. He won’t be able to start in the league for several seasons until he learns the next level better. Foles tends to panic when he is being rushed, and he forces throws. Foles isn’t a threat to run the ball, he has just a .437 career winning percentage in college, and sometimes his accuracy is questionable.

Was Nick Foles a Luxury or a Necessity?

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    I have heard people criticizing Andy Reid for spending a luxury pick on a third-round quarterback when there were other positions to address. However, Michael Vick misses enough time annually due to injuries that Nick Foles is not a luxury; he’s a necessity.

    The Philadelphia Eagles were set to enter 2012 with just Mike Kafka and Trent Edwards as their backups behind Vick. Kafka was a fourth-round pick of the team in 2010, and he has spent the last two seasons as the third-string quarterback. He’s a master of the offense, but he lacks the physical tools to excel in this league. Meanwhile, Edwards is a former Buffalo Bills castoff who will be trying to rejuvenate his career with the Eagles, but he probably won’t make the team, especially now that the Eagles have drafted Foles.

    The Eagles needed a solid backup quarterback for 2012 in case Vick gets injured, which is almost a certainty considering he’s missed extensive time the past two seasons due to injury. That’s where Foles comes in. The Eagles got themselves a good backup quarterback in Foles.

How Nick Foles Helps Andy Reid’s Job Security

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    Andy Reid’s job is unofficially on the hot seat entering the 2012 season, and if he doesn’t take the Philadelphia Eagles deep into the playoffs, Reid may not be back for 2013. His contract expires after ’13 and if he doesn’t do well in ’12, owner Jeffrey Lurie very likely won’t bring him back as a lame duck for 2013.

    However, Reid may get a few more years with the selection of Nick Foles. I think Lurie will be more reluctant to fire Reid with a potential franchise quarterback in the waiting.

Nick Foles Is the Next Kevin Kolb

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    I don’t mean Nick Foles is the next Kevin Kolb in the sense that he will turn out to not be very good. I’m saying Foles will sit on the bench for several seasons behind Michael Vick, just as Kolb did with Donovan McNabb.

    Foles will sit for 2012 and probably 2013 as well, but I think by 2014, he may be pushing to be the starter. Foles isn’t the prototypical Andy Reid quarterback in that he’s slow and can’t move around in the pocket very much, but he has a lot of attributes that Reid will love—he’s extremely teachable, he’s a natural-born leader, he has terrific size and a big arm, and he was a team captain.

So Will Nick Foles Pan Out?

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    This is still too early to tell. I think he will spend several seasons learning the offense and playing very sparingly, which means he may enter 2014 as the expected starter without Philadelphia Eagles fans really knowing what to expect from him. By that point, the Eagles’ offensive line should be the same starting five—Jason Peters (assuming he can return from his injury), Evan Mathis, Jason Kelce, Danny Watkins and Todd Herremans.

    DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin will be the wide receivers—assuming the Eagles re-sign Maclin when his contract expires after 2013—and Brent Celek will be the starting tight end, seeing as he is still signed for five more seasons. LeSean McCoy is also a dynamic running back who will be just 25 in 2014, and this bodes extremely well for Foles. He will have all the talent around him to succeed, and it will be just up to him to actually make it happen.