In 2013, Nick Foles had one of the greatest statistical seasons in NFL history for a quarterback and is "the guy" for at least next season. However, behind Foles are two young backups with three games combined experience. While Matt Barkley and even G.J. Kinne have upside, their lack of experience mixed their unknown talent leaves the Eagles in odd position. In an ideal world, Barkley would give the Eagles enough confidence that he would be the outright backup, but this is not that world right now.
The Eagles need either talent or experience behind Foles. As Chip Kelly constantly alludes, you are only as good as the next man on the depth chart. Barkley and Kinne clearly need competition for the backup quarterback position. If they decide to go with young talent over experience, San Jose State's Dave Fales may be a fit.
Fales was recruited by and committed to Nevada out of high school. After spending the entire 2008 season with Colin Kaepernick, he decided to leave Nevada for more playing time. Fales spent two years at Monterey Peninsula College, where he was a two-time All-Coast Conference selection and completed 61.79 percent of his throws for 4,635 yards and 37 touchdowns. He committed to San Jose State in December of 2011.
In his first season with the Spartans, Fales was the most accurate passer in the entire Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). He completed 72.5 percent of his passes for 4,193 yards, 33 touchdowns and just nine interceptions. He named an SI.com honorable mention All-American and second-team All-WAC selection.
As a redshirt senior, Fales was forced to learn a new offense, but still continued to be among the most accurate quarterbacks in college football. He completed 64.1 percent of his passes for 4,189 passing yards, 33 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He finished his two-year San Jose State career with 25 school records and was the first in school history to lead the team to an 11-win season.
He was invited to the Senior Bowl and completed 6-of-7 passes for 104 yards (led all quarterbacks), a touchdown and an interception.
Fales is a good decision-maker, who would rather take a sack or throw the ball out-of-bounds than force a pass and get picked off. He has solid vision and keeps his eyes downfield. He has good touch on his passes but prefers throwing bullets. He leads his wide receivers well and for the most part, puts the ball where on they can catch it. He is not afraid to make contested passes and trusts his wide receivers.
He gives his receivers passes that open them up for YAC opportunities. Fales has terrific pocket mobility and evades pressure relatively well. He makes smart decisions in the pocket and has a good feel for what is going on around him. He is quick but rarely relies on his legs.
Despite reports to the contrary, Fales has an okay arm, which is more adept for the short game. He is ideally a West Coast quarterback and is very good at throwing to routes 1-6. He can throw the ball downfield, but does not frequently do so. He steps up in the pocket with confidence and is not afraid to throw in traffic if he feels his guy can make a play.
At 6-foot-1 3/8, Fales is a shorter quarterback. While that did not impact his vision in college, the NFL features linemen on both sides that are much bigger than the FBS. He is not going to be killed for his height come draft day, but it may impact some teams' interests.
Fales is smart about where throws the ball, but he tends hold onto it way too long. Similar to Foles, Fales likes to wait until someone gets open to a play going. This can lead to big hits and sacks for the quarterback. While it is good to value turnovers over sacks, Fales is significantly small than Foles and beating he will take if he stays the same could lead to a short career.
While I mentioned that Fales has an okay arm, that is literally all he has. Fales is not a dependable passer for a team that constantly wants to throw downfield. That is just not his game. He typically sticks to short and intermediate routes. He also has a very odd delivery at times on short passes. That could be a turnoff for some teams.
Chip Kelly likes quarterbacks that avoid turnovers, are accurate and have at least functional mobility. Those qualities pretty much describe Fales. He is likely shorter than what Kelly would prefer in a passer, but then again, he used Michael Vick last season and he is smaller than the San Jose State product. While Kelly loves calling screens and working the short game, he also lets Foles sling it downfield several times a game. That may not be a good fit for Fales.
He is likely to go in the late-second to third round in May, so unless the Eagles plan on spending a Day 2 pick on a backup quarterback, Fales may not have a big shot of being Philadelphia next season.
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