Nick Foles

The Eagles took the NFL Draft version of a hail mary in the third round when they drafted Nick Foles. Foles isn’t much of a QB now (I’ll get to that) but he’s a guy who certainly passes the eyeball test and it never hurts to invest in the QB spot and Andy Reid knows that (see Matt Hasselbeck, Mark Brunell, Kevin Kolb, AJ Feeley). If he develops, you got a QB and if he doesn’t you cut your losses.

More after the jump…

Size:

Nick Foles is a very big quarterback at 6’5″ and 243 pounds. The average size of a QB drafted from 2000 to 2006 was 6’3″ and 225 pounds according to Ourlads.com. Clearly he’s a guy who can see over the offensive line and scan the field. And once you get your hands on him, he’s a tougher to bring down than your average QB simply because he’s bigger. Physically, he’s good.

His size should allow him to convert on short yardage situations like he does in the play above. I remember one announcer said that McNabb at 240 pounds was the best short yardage “back” on the Eagles, the same concept might apply to Nick Foles.

Athleticism:

He’s a statue, he’s really not an athletic guy at all. At all. At 243 pounds he ran the 40 yard dash in 5.14 seconds which was the slowest time for a QB by a fairly wide margin. His vertical jump of 30.5 inches was fourth worst of any QB. If you give him room I’m sure he could scramble in the same sense that Peyton Manning can scramble, it won’t be pretty and it won’t be used often.

Arm Strength:

Foles has a pretty good arm but it’s not nearly as good as his big frame would lead you to believe. I think that Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin, Ryan Tannehill, Russell Wilson and Ryan Lindley all have stronger arms. BJ Coleman supposedly has a strong arm but I haven’t seen him so I couldn’t tell you. Foles can challenge defenses deep and push the ball downfield but his deep ball floats, he has to put a lot of air under it unlike other guys I mentioned who can push the ball downfield on a rope.

Here is a throw that proves Foles’ arm is average. He has a blocker right in front of him so he can’t step into his throw, thats all on his arm and it almost doesn’t make it to the receiver. Contrast that with Ryan Tannehill who was throwing darts to the wide side in the videos I showed you for his post.

And this is what Greg Cosell is talking about when he says a passer needs “functional space”, if he can’t step into throws and follow through he suffers greatly and in the NFL you’re not going to have functional space very often.

Nick Foles can push the ball deep but like I said, he has to put a lot of air under it. His throws have a high trajectory and it affords defensive backs the time to recover (as you see here) and he makes his receivers work for the ball. Also notice how slow his throwing motion is, he has to wind that thing up. Unless he releases the ball quicker, quick NFL safeties are going to eat those passes up.

Skips the ball on a skinny post. This is what happens when he throws it at a lower trajectory, he needs to put air under the ball to get it there unlike most top quarterbacks.

Again, on an intermediate throw he skips it in.

Skip to my lou.

Wanted: Nick Foles, mass murderer of worms.

Accuracy:

If you give Nick Foles time, his throws are well placed and accurate especially in between the hashes. He throws a catchable ball with nice touch too. Some people will look at his size and some downfield highlight throws and assume he’s a vertical passer but I tend to think he’s better for a west coast offense where he can spot the ball accurately on short routes.

He did a nice job with this ball.

Another good example of how accurate Foles can be.

Pocket Presence:

At Arizona Nick Foles had a lot of quick release throws so he wasn’t asked to stick in the pocket for very long. But on the occasion that he did stay in the pocket he didn’t consistently step up into the pocket and keep his eye level. Rather, he let himself focus on the pressure, he faded away from pressure and he threw to his checkdown far too often.

Skittish.

Skittish.

Step up and gun a throw or get rid of it, don’t take a big sack down in the red-zone.

Release:

Nick Foles has really long arms. This causes his throwing motion to be less compact and because there are more moving parts, his delivery is just inherently slower. He’ll never have a quick release and his delivery and arm are very slow.

Between The Ears:

Credit to Nick Foles here, the guy is tough as nails. He played behind a really young offensive line in his senior year and he played through a knee injury, a hand injury and bruised ribs with a torn oblique. He’s a tough guy; he took his hits and he always got back up. Andy Reid mentioned something similar:

“He never complained about it,” Reid said. “He rallied those kids around him. He took some pretty big hits knowing that those kids were going to be some pretty good players down the road, but they were learning at that time. His percentage under pressure was as good or better than anybody in the country.

Nick Foles scored a 29 on his wonderlic and he appears to be a hard working guy. Dan Kadar of Mocking The Draft says that he was on the same flight as Foles after the combine and that he was studying film on the plane. And Jon Gruden spoke glowingly of how hard he’s going to work and I trust Jon Gruden. Smart, hard working and tough, thats a pretty good combination.

He was a team captain at Arizona and on the surface of things he appears to be a very team oriented guy and he says all the right things. But personally, I found some things he said to be a bit cliche but thats just how I felt. Some vets might scoff at Foles when he starts throwing out those old football cliches but I think he’s genuinely a guy who’s prepared to put the team above himself. Good team mentality.

One thing I do take issue with is his demeanor, he appears to be very laid back when you watch him play, see him on the sidelines and listen to him speak. He’s not a fiery guy, I’m not sure he’s ever going to be the sort of guy who takes a team by the reigns. He hasn’t been the sort of player who demands better play from those around him, he’s more Tony Romo than he is Tom Brady or Peyton Manning in terms of the way he carries himself.

Conclusion:

Pros: Size … Experience … Production … Solid accuracy on short routes … Doesn’t turn the ball over much … Hard working … Tough … Team first mentality

Cons: Weak arm … Can’t drive the ball, gives defenders time to recover and break on the ball because the velocity on his throws is poor and because they have a higher trajectory … Lollipop deep throws that receivers have to fight for … Slow delivery … Heavy feet in the pocket, struggles to move around and create new throwing platforms … He is not accurate when throwing on the move … Holds onto the ball too long … Bad pocket presence, he’ll drop his eye level and focus on the pressure … Captain checkdown … Career record of 12-17 … Laid back demeanor on and off the field … Few anticipation throws, must be developed … Gimmicky offense with lots of simplified reads and few NFL caliber throws

Best Case Scenario: Brad Johnson
-Big, tall pocket passer with mediocre tools but he didn’t turn the ball over and he kept the lead. Could occasionally push the ball downfield to keep defenses honest. Good locker room guy too who worked hard and studied the game.

At this point he’s a less talented version of Blaine Gabbert.

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