If I didn’t know any better, I’d swear that Philadelphia Eagles QB Nick Foles was already a five-time pro-bowler and Super Bowl MVP.
Fortunately, I know that he’s just a rookie who has attempted a mere 38 passes in two preseason games during his 15 day career as an Eagle.
But wow, what a 38 pass attempts it has been!
He has completed 24 (63.2%) of them for 361 yards, four TDs, one INT and has a QB rating of 118.4 — tops in the NFL right now.
While that is a great start to Foles’ career, let’s not go overboard here.
The majority of the hype and excitement over Foles in Philly is for him to be the clear-cut winner of the backup QB competition. However, I’ve also seen and heard numerous people saying that he should be the starter this year and will certainly be the starter in 2013 and beyond.
And to that, I say…slow your roll big guy.
Listen, I’m as excited as anyone about the potential Foles appears to have. However, two preseason games does not make for nearly a good enough sample to be crowning him king.
If you take a look at some history, you’ll see that the odds are stacked against Foles ever developing into a good starting NFL quarterback.
First, let’s look at his draft position. He was taken in the third round and was the seventh QB off the board in this past draft.
Now, let’s look at all of the QBs taken in Round 3 in the 15 years between 1996 and 2010 (leaving out 2011 due to only one year of sampling):
So, what’s the first thing that jumps out at you about that list? How much it stinks? Yeah, me too.
Be honest, how many names do you even recognize on that list? Unless you’re a very thorough football fan or a draftnik, there are probably a handful of names you don’t know.
Yet, they were all “good enough” to be drafted in the third round.
There is only one, I repeat — one — guy on that list that became a quality starting QB and that is Matt Schaub.
That’s exactly one out of 18. Or, in other words, a “hit rate” of 5.5%.
Furthermore, let’s look at a couple of QBs from our own backyard:
Prior to Nick Foles, Kevin Kolb was the heir apparent in Philly. He was actually drafted in the second-round in 2007.
His preseason numbers during his rookie campaign were pretty good too: 70 completions out of 106 passes (66%) for 617 yards, two TDs and no INTs. Was that indicative of how his career is panning out?
Kolb was “okay” in Philadelphia but has significantly struggled in Arizona.
Trent Edwards completed a whopping 75.4% of his preseason passes for 432 yards and a TD in his rookie season. He was drafted in the third round in the same year as Kolb and after spending a year out of football, is a long-shot to crack third place on a depth chart.
And for those older Eagles fans, how about Bobby Hoying? He’s on that list as he was the Eagles’ third-round draft pick in 1996.
He had just as much hype — if not more — about him being the next great thing and was looked upon as the savior. He even came to Philly during a time of instability at QB when the Eagles were fielding guys like Ty Detmer and Rodney Peete.
In Hoying’s second season, he received a few starts and flashed huge potential, including a game in which he threw for 313 yards and four TDs in leading the Eagles to a shoot-out victory over Boomer Esiason and the Bengals.
The hope was so great about Hoying that then head coach Ray Rhodes installed him as the starter going into the 1998 season. Well, Hoying was absolutely brutal and was benched after seven games.
The Eagles then finished 3-13 and Ray Rhodes was fired.
Coincidentally, the next year was Andy Reid’s first year as head coach. And what did he do? He drafted a blue-chip QB with the No. 2 overall pick in 1999. And in a nutshell, that’s where teams typically find their future at the QB position.
If you look around the NFL at all of the starting QBs as of the end of the 2011 season, 19 (59%) of them were first round selections. Then, if you only look at the QBs ranked in the top 15 (going by NFL.com), 10 (66%) of them were first-round picks.
In fact, late-round draft picks and undrafted free agent QBs have had more success in the NFL than have third-round picks (and second-round picks too for that matter).
Obviously, being drafted in the third round doesn’t mean a QB is doomed to fail. I’m just merely pointing out that it hasn’t been a good round for players at the QB position.
Nothing is preordained in football, so I’m not trying to sentence Nick Foles to be a career backup or say he’ll be the next Giovanni Carmazzi (Who? Exactly).
However, I’m not ready to say he’s the next Tom Brady or even Matt Schaub yet either.
I’m just saying let’s not anoint him as All-Pro or the future of this franchise just yet. The Eagles have a habit of making their backups look good and Foles is following suit.