Even with Nick Foles cemented in as the starter, the Eagles will still have to find a third-string quarterback — whether that’s in the draft or via free agency. All signs point to Michael Vick leaving to pursue a starting job, so Howie Roseman is going to have to add another body on the roster.
The Eagles drafted Matt Barkley last year, and it seems like Chip is excited about his potential. But is he really who the Eagles want in a backup to Foles? It’s hard to say.
The free agency crop of quarterbacks isn’t the prettiest. Charlie Whitehurst, Kellen Clemens and Chad Henne are just a few names that pop out on the list. Vick is probably the biggest name on said list, and you’d have to believe he’d be a priority for teams who think they can’t draft the guy they need.
With this being the case, it’s easy to prediction that the Eagles will have to draft someone at some point. Here are cover32’s top 10 quarterbacks in the 2014 NFL Draft:
1. Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
2. Blake Bortles, Central Florida
3. Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville
4. Tajh Boyd, Clemson
5. Derek Carr, Fresno State
6. Zach Mettenberger, LSU
7. Jimmy Garoppolo, Eastern Illinois
8. Stephen Morris, Miami
9. A.J. McCarron, Alabama
10. Aaron Murray, Georgia
Just mention the phrase “mobile quarterback” in Philadelphia, and you better duck for cover. It seems like the same people who insisted Chip Kelly couldn’t operate without one are now the ones lambasting you for questioning Foles’ existence. That’s not the point anyone is trying to make — if you don’t think Foles can run this offense, you didn’t pay attention in 2013.
But if you don’t think a quarterback with functional mobility could maximize the potential of said offense, you weren’t paying attention before 2013. I get that Kelly said he now runs the “Philadelphia Eagles offense”. It’s predicated around the strengths of his players, and rightfully so. But if a strength also helps increase the danger level of an offensive attack, you have to take that into consideration.
Clemson’s Tajh Boyd is a compact kid, standing only 6’1″ but with a thick build. He’s able to absorb hits, and is very good at navigating the read-option. As a passer, he’s developed a good comfort level in the pocket and has a solid arm. He’ll need to work on his accuracy, and a tough Senior Bowl week didn’t help his draft stock either. But Boyd’s loss may be the Eagles’ gain — a slip in draft stock could lead him to fall just where they want him to.
Boyd seems like a project, which is why Philadelphia would consider picking him up. They spoke with him at the Senior Bowl.
Carr could be another possible look for the Eagles. He had a monstrous 2013 at Fresno State, throwing for 5,082 yards and 50 touchdowns. He has a good arm, quick release and is a pretty good decision maker. He’s not the runner that Boyd is, but again, the Eagles don’t necessarily need that.
The biggest concern with Carr is whether or not his game can translate to the NFL. He played in a weak conference in college, and struggled against USC in Fresno State’s recent bowl game. Probably unfairly, Carr also has the stigma of being David Carr’s brother attached to him. David was a former first overall pick of the Houston Texans who never panned out.
Carr has a decent stock right now, but poor performances at a combine or pro day could deflate it. If this were the case, maybe the Eagles would consider taking him. Carr seems like a guy who could challenge Barkley for the backup job.
Eastern Illinois’ Jimmy Garoppolo is another similar player to Carr, but there are some issues with his arm angle. Aaron Murray as well, but he’s working back from an ACL tear and isn’t the most athletic of guys.
Outside of the top 10, there’s not a whole lot. The Eagles did talk to Logan Thomas from Virginia Tech at the Senior Bowl, but his last season with the Hokies offered little impressive moments. A little known guy like Wyoming’s Brett Smith could see his name pop into the conversation, too.