Origins: How the Eagles came to draft Nick Foles

Origins: How the Eagles came to draft Nick Foles

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.’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.

>> How the Eagles landed Foles [Inq]
>> How the Eagles saw in Foles what no others did [CSN]

Embiid and Okafor want to play together, but not just yet, says Brown

Embiid and Okafor want to play together, but not just yet, says Brown

CAMDEN, N.J. — If all goes as planned, a time will come when the Sixers can roll out a dominating frontcourt duo with Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor sharing the court in lengthy stretches.

That moment has to wait, though, as both Embiid and Okafor are on minute restrictions. As he returns from a knee injury, Okafor currently is coming off the bench and backing up Embiid.

“This conversation with Jahlil and Joel is more intelligent and applicable at a later date,” Brett Brown said at practice Friday. “When Jahlil’s minutes start going up and Joel can, then it’s a real conversation. I do think you may see them sooner than even I thought together. But as far as making it a real constant part of a strategy or rotation, it’s beyond too early days.”

In an ideal world, Brown could pair the two bigs now and use all of their allotted minutes (Embiid 20, Okafor 14) at once. That would leave an extensive workload on second-year bench player Richaun Holmes.

“This is a hot topic,” Brown said. “I will say it one more time: If I play Jahlil and Jo together, I hope Richaun can play 35 minutes.”

It’s an unrealistic expectation for Holmes, who averaged 13.8 minutes in 51 games last season. Brown caps the majority of the Sixers at six-minute segments to keep them competing at a high energy level.

“Right now, he’s a backup,” Brown said of Holmes. “I think he’s going to be an NBA player for a very long time. I just feel like in the role, he’s a second-year player that didn’t really have much of a role last year. He’s shown everybody that he’s for real. He really can play a role. At this early stage, that is the key word.”

Embiid and Okafor have been envisioning competing together since Okafor was drafted two years ago. They became friends long before they were NBA players and have an easy chemistry on the court as a result.

“I think it’s going to be exciting,” Embiid said. “We played a little bit together today in practice. We’re figuring out how to play with each other. It’s a process and we’ve got trust it.”

Yes, the players know they have to wait, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy for them to resist an opportunity to play with one another.  

“I think once we figure it out, we can really dominate together,” Okafor said. “We were able to flirt with it again today. We accidentally keep ending up on the same team even though Coach keeps telling us to make sure we alternate. But we’re having fun. We’re trying to put some pressure on it because we want to play together.”

Is that accidentally with air quotes?

“Yeah, exactly,” Okafor said with a laugh.

'Trust the process' has a different, more personal meaning to Joel Embiid

'Trust the process' has a different, more personal meaning to Joel Embiid

CAMDEN, N.J. — Joel Embiid is all about trusting the process.

He manages to insert the well-known phrase into just about every interview, hashtags it on social media and soaks in the chants during games. 

While “trust the process” is commonly associated with former Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie’s patience-required approach to building the team — which resulted in three years of dismal losing and suffering setback after setback — Embiid has his personal take on the mantra.

“I think I have my own process,” Embiid said Friday at practice.

Embiid is playing for the first time this season after waiting two years to recover from foot injuries. His long-anticipated debut was a focal point of “the process,” and his return to the court marked a new chapter in the organization.

“I went through two surgeries, lost my brother, thought about some stuff I shouldn’t have thought about, so that’s my own process,” he said. “And then the process of going through the rehab and finally getting back on the court and getting the chance to finally play in the league, that’s my process.”

Embiid is now synonymous with the word. He credits Sixers fans for the moniker, which he added to his Instagram profile. 

“I don’t think it came from me,” he said. “Fans just started and then I just went along with it.”

Wednesday marked the next step in the process, both for the Sixers and Embiid. His regular-season debut (20 points, seven rebounds, two blocks) was a long time coming and garnered buzz all over the NBA world.

“I was the third pick and then I missed two years,” Embiid said. “The excitement in the city, everybody’s happy to finally see me play. Even though it was weird because a lot of people kind of wrote me off a long time ago saying that I’d never play as a Sixer, I’d never play in the league. So it’s all fun. Everybody’s going to have an opinion.”

He’s just got to trust in his own.