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Odds on Who Will Be Chip Kelly's Starting QB with Eagles

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistJanuary 16, 2013

Odds on Who Will Be Chip Kelly's Starting QB with Eagles

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    With the Philadelphia Eagles' shocking hire of Chip Kelly on Wednesday, a slew of questions immediately came to the forefront for fans and sportswriters alike.

    Who will run the defense? Will Kelly keep his famed fast-paced practices? Will his no-huddle, read-option offense translate to the NFL?

    Most importantly, who will be the Eagles' starting quarterback next season?

    As we've seen time and time again, a quarterback can make or break a head coach. That means Kelly will have a very important decision to make. 

    The Eagles offseason just got a lot more fun, folks. Let's project some odds on who the team's next starting quarterback will be.

Alex Smith: 5 Percent

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    This is a long shot, yes, but it makes a lot of sense if Kelly isn't sold on the next three guys on this list.

    Think about it. Alex Smith will surely want to be traded, and his combination of intelligence, accuracy, deceptive athleticism, experience in the NFL and ability to limit turnovers would make him the perfect fit for Kelly's offense.

    A lot—and I mean a lot—would have to happen for the Eagles to end up with Smith. However, if Kelly doesn't like the quarterbacks he has on the roster and doesn't see a solution via the draft, Smith would actually make a ton of sense.

Geno Smith: 20 Percent

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    I still believe Geno Smith will end up being the top selection overall by the Kansas City Chiefs, but we won't know that for sure until April. One thing I do know is that Smith is easily the best fit for Kelly's system out of the college ranks.

    Like his namesake on the prior slide, Smith has the skill set to run Kelly's system efficiently. Smith is familiar with a spread attack, and he ran it to perfection this year for West Virginia, throwing for 4,205 yards, 42 touchdowns and six interceptions while completing a whopping 71.2 percent of his passes.

    If I didn't think Smith would ultimately go No. 1 to Kansas City, I would have his percentage higher to land with the Eagles. Then again, with two capable quarterbacks already on the roster and help needed at other positions, Kelly might decide against drafting a quarterback with an early pick altogether.

Michael Vick: 25 Percent

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    Michael Vick is about to go from a player many folks predicted was done in Philadelphia to a player many folks will crown as the perfect player to run Kelly's system.

    Is he?

    Vick is an incredible athlete, yes, and the thought of him scooting outside on a read-option play and breaking loose for a long touchdown run is appealing. However, Vick is also brittle, isn't very accurate and has not shown an ability to consistently make the proper reads over the past two seasons.

    Plus, he's owed $15.5 million next year, and it was reported he wouldn't re-work that deal. That makes it highly unlikely he'll stick around, good fit for the scheme or not.

    I still think it's more likely that Vick will start at quarterback than either of the Smiths mentioned previously, but I think it's also very likely he won't even remain on the Eagles roster.

Nick Foles: 50 Percent

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    He may not be the sexy or popular pick, but I would be very surprised if Nick Foles wasn't the starting quarterback for the Eagles next year. 

    You may not think Foles is going to be the right fit for Kelly's system, but you can't expect that Kelly wouldn't tweak his system if he believed Foles was the right man to start at quarterback. Kelly is one of the brightest minds in football today, and he won't try to fit square pegs into round holes.

    Besides, Foles has shown some promise in his limited playing time, and Kelly and the Eagles brass might like to see what they have in him over the course of a season before deciding to go in a different direction.

    If I had my pick of these four selections, I would love to see the team either trade for Alex Smith or draft Geno Smith if he ends up grading out highly on the team's board. However, realistically, I believe Foles is going to be the guy next season.

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