Every well-run company does a yearly inventory check. In this eight-part series, I will break down, position-by-position, where the Eagles stand, how long-term their current situation is and the likelihood of a draft pick being spent on that position.
We start with the quarterbacks.
The Starter: Nicky Numbers lit it up to the tune of 27 TDs to just 2 INTs and a rating of 119.2 in his first full season as a starter. To be honest, I had forgotten just how good those numbers were. And frankly, I don’t think throwing just two picks in a season is sustainable. Some QBs are less prone to interceptions than others. This was one of Donovan McNabb’s biggest strengths. But no QB can consistently protect the ball THAT well. So, I would expect a slight dip for Nick Foles. That said, Foles obviously had a great year and with Chip Kelly running the show, I would expect good things for Foles moving forward. Give me another good season in 2014 and I’m 100% on board. Grade: B+
The Backups: The Eagles added Mark Sanchez this off-season and caught some heat for it. I have no idea why. He’s a serviceable backup with a ton of starting experience who can clearly win some games. His career record is 33-29. I get that he’s a downgrade from Michael Vick, but Vick wanted to be a starter, and is clearly good enough to do so. So can we please move on? Ok, thanks. According to Pro-Football-Reference, Sanchez’s career thus far compares very closely to Charlie Batch and Vinny Testaverde. If this was 2002, I’d take either of those as my backup any day.
The third-string QB is Matt Barkley. Barkley wasn’t very good when he got to play as a rookie in 2013. A 44.6 QB rating without a TD and four picks is a tough line, but he was aggressive and did complete over 60% of his passes. It seemed as though decision-making was the biggest issue with Barkley, which is fixable. He probably won’t ever be a star in the NFL, but he’s a guy who could develop into a Detmer-level backup.
Beyond that, GJ Kinne is the only other QB on the roster. He’s a fringe-level QB, but is super versatile, with an ability to field punts, return kicks, cover punts and play Defensive Back. That kind of versatility makes him a valuable practice squad player, although he won’t make the active roster. Grade: B+
Long-term viability: The current group is young, and this grade depends mostly on Nick Foles. I’ll admit, I’m still not 100% sold. I’m about 95% there, but a 14-game sample is still too small for me. That said, if Foles has a repeat 2013 season, this position is set in stone for years. But even if he takes a step back, he’ll get 2014 as a prove-it year. Grade: A-
Draft Likelihood: The Eagles could add a QB in rounds 5-7 to compete with Barkley, but I doubt it. They will definitely add one player, since the team will carry 5 QBs in Training Camp. But I think that player will be an undrafted free agent unless someone Kelly REALLY likes who falls to them late. Grade: D