Doug Pederson is looking for the next Nick Foles, but not in the way you might think


When news emerged that the Eagles would be hosting Jared Goff to a private workout on Monday, social media went into meltdown as the speculation about what the Eagles are going to do in the first round of the upcoming NFL Draft sky rocketed. Whilst it is still plausible that the birds draft a Quarterback in the first round, it’s not all that likely. There are many reasons for this, but one is that instead of trying to avoid history repeating itself..Doug Pederson wants to make sure he re-writes it his way.

Prior to the 2012 NFL Draft, a Quarterback out of Arizona had a private workout with the Philadelphia Eagles. That man was Nick Foles, who as a result ended up being drafted by the Eagles in the third round following a glowing report by whom? You guessed it, current Head Coach Doug Pederson. The other two Quarterbacks worked out prior to that draft were eventual first round Pick Ryan Tannehill and Kirk Cousins.

So why is this relevant? Well if Doug Pederson’s mindset is anything similar to his Jedi Master Andy Reid’s, he won’t be hosting private workouts for first round picks. It’s traditionally not something Reid does and it’s something Pederson would have most likely developed reasoning and understanding for.

With reports suggesting that the Eagles are going to be privately hosting work outs for the top 3-6 QB prospects in the Draft, it’s important to note that this process is eerily similar to that of 2012. Working out Jared Goff (a projected first rounder) and then likely working out two mid-round prospects means that the Eagles can compare the prospects with a hands on approach and see if they’re what Pederson is looking for..or how malleable they are into becoming what he’s looking for.

What this means is that the Eagles are essentially looking for another Nick Foles. Many have mixed opinions on Foles, but if you look at what many thought about him coming into the draft, he has some very similar qualities to current Eagles Quarterbacks Chase Daniel and Sam Bradford (two Quarterbacks who Pederson has continued to speak very highly of, even going as far to say that Bradford was a large factor in his decision to take the job).

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All relatively tall Quarterbacks who have above average accuracy and the ability to throw the ball deep down the field. Pederson being hot on all three and being a factor into all of their careers in Philadelphia should tell us about what he’s looking for in a project Quarterback.

Nick Foles was meant to be that guy and unfortunately has become a one-season wonder. After a sensational 2013 season, Foles declined before being traded to the Rams to play in a system in which he has arguably even less help around him and in front of him. It was a system that exploited the flaws previously masked under Chip Kelly’s plug ‘n’ play concept. He’s not a “bad Quarterback” per say, he just happened to over achieve due to systematic success before being subjected to two situations in the next seasons that didn’t bode well for an immobile Quarterback who struggles to get the ball away with urgency.

In saying Pederson is looking for “the next Nick Foles”, I’m not saying he’s looking for Foles as a player. He’s looking for those same qualities. A tall Quarterback with a big arm who has good spatial awareness and pocket presence alongside a solid arm and accuracy. A Quarterback who can grow in the right system.

Under Reid should he have not been fired, Foles may well have been a Chase Daniel equivalent. But under Chip Kelly he was thrust into an Offense that he wasn’t suited to, but that he seemed to flourish under due to the protection he had and the amount of weapons he had around him. He didn’t have 2-3 years to grow and learn under a great mentor, Foles was pushed onto center stage once Vick went down and expected to put the birds on his shoulders.

As the weapons and protection faded but the system persisted, the flaws began to show. With the Rams, those flaws were only highlighted more as a similar situation began to appear.

Working out Goff may well have been a Tannehill workout equivalent. That’s what the “cream of the crop” look like, that’s what the “cream of the crop” play like..what about the guys beneath the surface? The mid-round picks and lesser known Quarterbacks?

As you can see, Jared Goff’s physical attributes are very close to those of Daniel, Bradford and even Foles. But he could be perceived as out of reach at this point. This gives the Eagles a solid base to work with and a way of comparing the other Quarterbacks in the draft.

The Eagles are looking for a project Quarterback and if the process of finding their man is close to Reid’s, the Eagles won’t be looking for Goff, they won’t be looking for Tannehill. They’ll be looking for Foles..they’ll be looking for a Hogan, a Prescott, a Hackenberg..and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Photo credit: Alex Brandon/AP