The NFL is full of different quarterbacks from a variety of backgrounds, experience and traits. One could say that just like most major cities, the quarterback position is really a melting pot in the league. There are starting quarterbacks that were drafted in the first round and there are future Hall of Fame passers that were drafted in the sixth round. There are white, black and even red-headed quarterbacks. All of these passers come from different schools, cities and draft stock. So why is it that when dealing with a quarterback like Nick Foles, there is so much discussion or even skepticism regarding his "pedigree"? NFL Network's Albert Breer even went as far as to question it on Eagles Live with Dave Spadaro on Thursday.
Foles is a third round pick out Arizona, which is in the Pac-12. He is from the most recent quarterback capital of the country, Texas, stands 6-foot-6 and weighs roughly 240 pounds. So why is it that their is skepticism in him, when a guy like Russell Wilson (also a third round pick) is lauded? Wilson is 5-foot-11, has the best offense line and defense in football, along with a top five running back in Marshawn Lynch. It is safe to say that Wilson has a pretty good deal as a quarterback.
The Eagles fanbase is very concerned about the quarterback position (and rightfully so) but it seems that a good number of them want a shiny new first-round passer, despite having a guy on the team that has broken several team records. What makes this hard to understand is that this year's crop of college prospects have shown pretty obvious shortcomings and the group is looking to be more like 2011's prospects than that of 2012.
Foles is not a first round pick, but had he been that guy, the former Wildcat would be the unquestioned franchise guy for the Eagles. While he is clearly not "the guy" yet, Foles has done things that very few Eagles or league quarterbacks have done in limited action. On top of that, his "pedigree" is actually pretty good. He threw 67 touchdowns at Arizona, ranked first in the Pac-12 in passing yards per game and was second in passing yards as a senior. His stats and record as a starter in college were better than that of Jay Cutler at Vanderbilt, and he was a first round pick.
Pedigree is a stupid word in the NFL that really makes no sense. Carson Palmer was considered one of the greatest quarterback prospects of all time coming out of USC, but he has yet to win a playoff game during his entire 11-year career. Passers like Sam Bradford, Blaine Gabbert, Christian Ponder, Jake Locker and Josh Freeman have yet to win a playoff game or live up to their first-round status. However, quarterbacks taken in later rounds (or even undrafted) like Colin Kaepernick, Tony Romo, Tom Brady and Wilson have all had tremendous success.
At this point in the season, Foles is producing more touchdowns, less turnovers and better yards per pass than the likes of Joe Flacco, Aaron Rodgers, Ryan Tannehill, Robert Griffin III, Eli Manning, Alex Smith, Geno Smith, Ponder, Palmer and Bradford with less games and lacking their first-round "pedigree." At the end of the day, does it matter what round he was picked in?
Let's play a game. Below are the 32 starting quarterbacks (Week 1) in the league. How many of these passers would you take over Foles?
Ravens: Joe Flacco (1st)
Lions: Matt Stafford (1st)
Packers: Aaron Rodgers (1st)
Vikings: Christian Ponder (1st)
Bears: Jay Cutler (1st)
Jaguars: Blaine Gabbert (1st)
Titans: Jake Locker (1st)
Buccaneers: Josh Freeman (1st)
Panthers: Cam Newton (1st)
Falcons: Matt Ryan (1st)
Chiefs: Alex Smith (1st)
Cardinals: Carson Palmer (1st)
49ers: Colin Kaepernick (2nd)
Seahawks: Russell Wilson (3rd)
Rams: Sam Bradford (1st)
Dolphins: Ryan Tannehill (1st)
Patriots: Tom Brady (6th)
Jets: Geno Smith (2nd)
Giants: Eli Manning (1st)
Redskins: Robert Griffin III (1st)
Cowboys: Tony Romo (UDFA)
Eagles: Michael Vick (1st)
As you can see, there are a lot of first-round picks on this list, but how many of them have first-round talent? When you look at what Foles or Wilson or Kaepernick have done, why does draft status even matter? While fans may want "the guy," they may already have him. At this point, just sit back and relax, while the Eagles win and hopefully the quarterback position will figure itself out. The grass is not always greener on the other side, especially when it comes quarterbacks.