There are two really great stories going around about how the Philadelphia Eagles came to select Nick Foles, quarterback from the University of Arizona, with the 88th overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, and both manage to cover the pick from different angles.
The first is Jeff McLane’s in Saturday’s edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer, which looks more closely at the influence of Andy Reid and his coaching staff’s influence on the decision. That includes former offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, who actually wound up showing Foles’ tape to Reid, and quarterbacks coach Doug Pederson, who spent the most time with the kid in person.
One day during the 2012 offseason, Marty Mornhinweg turned on the college tape of Nick Foles and liked what he saw. So he walked down the second floor corridor at the NovaCare Complex and into Andy Reid's office.
"I said, 'Have you seen this Foles kid?'" Mornhinweg said recently to The Inquirer. "So he watches him, likes what he's watching and says, 'Where's Doug?'"
Doug Pederson, the Eagles quarterback coach, was on the road. He was working out other quarterbacks and by coincidence was scheduled next to be in Phoenix to visit Brock Osweiler, the 6-foot-7 Arizona State quarterback.
"We're like, shoot, let's get him over to work out Foles instead," Mornhinweg recalled. "So we had our people redirect Doug to Tuscon."
The tape must’ve been impressive to just decide the hell with another prospect just like that. And Osweiler actually went earlier than Foles, landing with the Denver Broncos in the second round.
McLane walks us through what happened from there with insight from all three coaches and Foles, who was worried he might’ve bombed his workouts with the Eagles. You can’t blame him for being a little nervous. I didn’t realize this, but McLane reveals the Birds were the only team to work Foles out individually or bring him in for a pre-draft visit.
It’s a very well-done piece by McLane, and it certainly lends credibility to previous reports that the team was also interested in Russell Wilson, not to mention that Reid and Pederson would’ve liked to take Foles to Kansas City with them.
CSNPhilly.com’s Reuben Frank has the story from the other side: Howie Roseman and the front office. In the interview, the Eagles’ general manager talked a lot about the evaluation process, and in particular what qualities they saw that maybe other teams were glossing over.
And most importantly, where other teams saw a guy who never won more than six games in a season in college, the Eagles saw a guy who always dealt with the adversity in a positive fashion.
“One of the things you look for is how players respond to adversity,” Roseman said. “He did not have a lot of talent around him. Especially on the offensive line. He was constantly hit and knocked on the ground, but he’d just bounce back up and find a way.
“There were some hits that he took where you just wondered, ‘How is he getting back up?’ It goes back to his toughness and his size.
“We also went back and looked to see how he played against good competition, and he did play well against ranked teams, including Oregon and USC, so when you saw kind of those things, that’s important.”
It almost sounds like if the Eagles hadn’t taken Foles in the third round, they might’ve been able to get him later. Roseman pooh-poohed that notion though, pointing out that when you think you can get a good quarterback at a certain point in the draft, you better not to wait.
But again, the story circles back to Reid, who Roseman gave a lot of credit to for evaluation and selection of Foles. I really respect the fact that the GM does not feel the need to make himself look better and gives a guy who’s no longer even with the organization his due.
“Andy Reid deserves a lot of credit,” Roseman said. “He really does. Obviously, when you’re going to pick a quarterback the head coach is going to be a big factor in that, and Andy is a great evaluator of quarterbacks and he spent a lot of time on that quarterback class, and he had a lot of confidence in Nick’s ability.”
So thanks, Andy. The last couple years were kind of brutal, but thanks for leaving us a nice parting gift.