5 Quarterbacks Who Could Be Perfect for Chip Kelly and the Philadelphia Eagles
5 Quarterbacks Who Would Be Perfect for Eagles
No one knew what Kelly was thinking, but if he was worried about his quarterback situation then it is doubly so now after both Nick Foles and Matt Barkley looked horrible in a 17-3 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.
The short-term answer is obvious and that’s Michael Vick has got to get healthy in a hurry from a hamstring problem. The long-term question is more vexing.
Foles has never been a “Kelly-kind” of quarterback and he proved that on Sunday, missing numerous receivers and being caught from behind several times on plays designed for quarterbacks to turn it up-field and get first downs. Even Fox analyst Troy Aikman referred to Foles’ lack of foot speed and said: “Foles runs a 4.9 40-yard-dash and that, ladies and gentlemen, is not fast, even for a quarterback.”
Kelly’s up-tempo spread offense cannot operate effectively with a 4.9-40 quarterback. The answer is to go out and groom one to replace the 33-year-old Vick. If anything, Foles is a career backup and not a reliable one at that, but the good news is that any one of five good ones could fall to the Eagles in a quarterback-deep 2014 NFL Draft. Barkley threw three interceptions in one quarter of work, and his arm strength has always been questionable. One or both of those guys might be able to latch on somewhere else, but Kelly has got to be thinking it will not be in Philadelphia under his watch. Heck, if he can package Foles and his No. 1 pick to move up in the first round, that would be ideal.
Right now, Kelly's got to have his eyes on these five, in order.
5. Tajh Boyd, Clemson
As a junior, the 6-foot-1, 225-pound Boyd carried the Tigers to an 11-2 record and he's picked up where he left off. He would add that speed element that Kelly covets so much in his quarterbacks, running a 4.62-40. He's been consistently accurate, following up a 59 percent completion-percentage season two years ago to 67 percent last season.
4. Brett Hundley, UCLA
Hundley is 6-foot-3, 227 pounds and knows what to do when the protection breaks down, as he ran for 701 yards last year in addition to throwing 29 touchdown passes with only 11 interceptions. Kelly still has memories, maybe even nightmares, about Hundley, who threw for 372 yards in a loss to Kelly's Oregon team a year ago.
3. Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
This would be an extremely popular move for the Philadelphia fans, who know more about Heisman Trophy winners than they do of players like Boyd and Hundley. Still, Manziel brings a toughness and skill set that has to intrigue Kelly. The only knock on him is that he's only 6-foot-1, 200 pounds and might not be durable enough for a 16-game NFL season. Still, his Heisman numbers are legendary: 27 touchdown passes for 3,706 yards and 21 more touchdowns on the ground for 1,410 yards.
2. Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville
The Eagles might not have enough to offer to move up to No. 1 to get Bridgewater, who many believe will be the overall No. 1 pick in the draft. The only question about Bridgewater, his competition, was answered in the Sugar Bowl game last year when he almost single-handedly beat Florida. Gator safety Matt Elam said that Bridgewater was the best quarterback the Gators played last year and the Gators played Buffalo Bills' first-round pick E.J. Manuel.
1. Marcus Mariota, Oregon
Mariota is probably the guy Kelly wants all along, and the Eagles could put together an attractive package to move up to get him if that's what it takes. Having already played for Kelly, Mariota knows exactly what Kelly wants to run. He's tall (6-foot-4, 218) and fast (4.65-40) and elusive enough to have run for 898 yards with five touchdowns for Kelly in the 2012 season. In addition to that, he completed 68 percent of his passes for 3,277 yards, 32 touchdowns and just six interceptions. Rest assured, Kelly will do all he can do to bring Mariota to Philadelphia.