Former Eagles scout Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks), now with NFL Network, hosts a regularly scheduled football podcast that's worth a listen. In his latest episode, Jeremiah discussed some upcoming 2015 NFL Draft prospects and how scouting reports work. Jeremiah used his own scouting report on Eagles quarterback Nick Foles as an example. Here's what he had to say (starting at around the 33 minute mark):
"Nick will be a 23 year old rookie. Attended Westlake High School in Austin, Texas. Broke all of Drew Brees' school records at the Texas power house high school. Finished his career with 5,650 yards, 56 TDs. Honorable mention all-state. Completed 67% of his passes. 3,296 yards, 33 TDs, only 4 interceptions his senior year.
Also lettered in basketball for three years averaging 15 points and 11 rebounds. Led the entire district in rebounding as a sophomore.
Attended Michigan State out of high school. 2007 backup. 2008 redshirt while transferring to Arizona. 2009 started 10 games. 2010 started 11 games. 2011 starting QB.
He’s a communications major.
Character: Great character. Parents are together. Dad owns over 50 high-end restaurants across the country. Everybody loves Nick here. Has a girlfriend at Texas but they aren’t very serious. No kids, he’s all about football. Always at the facility. He was there when I was visiting with the QB coach. He wanted to see one particular play that bothered him from practice, so he showed up, came right into the room with his ice bag on his arm. Has the wide receivers over all the time to watch tape and eat at his apartment. Pays for their food, buys them supplements. He’s taken Juron Criner under his wing. Criner doesn’t trust a lot of people but he does trust Foles. Foles is a clear leader of the team.
Originally committed to ASU, but then they fired their head coach. Then decided to go to Michigan State because of his relationship with the head coach. Loved the coach but didn’t enjoy his time there. Decided to come back to Arizona because it was a better fit. Paid his own way for the first semester. Coaches said that all the Michigan State people spoke very highly of Nick. QB coach said he was better than J.P. Losman and Patrick Ramsay, who he had coached previously.
He’s a visual learner. They give him a lot on his plate. Thought about coming out last fall but listened to the advice of his coaches that he needed another year. Several people said he could start for the hoops team at Arizona. Beats their players in pickup games all the time.
Update: Talked to two more sources in the program, everyone says the same thing about how much they love Nick. Very well liked, respected, and his attitude has been great through a very trying season in Tucson.
Interview at Combine: Agent is Dave Dunn. Parents have been together for 25 years. Dad is a successful restaurant owner, has several different high-end restaurants. Nick has never been in any trouble. Wants to coach when he’s done playing. He’s bright, engaging. Said he needs to improve his footwork and he’s working on it every day. Didn’t name one specific player that stood out to him but mentioned Stanford’s defense as the most physical he faced. He’s already graduated. Overall, very likable person.
Mentally: Excellent smarts, knows what everybody is doing on the field, understands fronts and coverages.
Work ethic: Outstanding worker, sets a tone in the weight room. They have to back him off so he doesn’t get too big."
Nothing too shocking there, though I think it's a little surprising Foles actually had to be held back in the weight room considering his seemingly laid-back personality.
This scouting report is just a reminder of how Foles possesses a lot of the desirable intangibles teams are looking for in a quarterback. Great character, great teammate, great work ethic, etc. You name it, Foles has it. Chip Kelly places a high value on character so we know he especially appreciates these qualities.
As former Eagles defensive coordinator Juan Castillo can attest to, however, hard work only goes so far. There comes a point where talent matters. And in that regard, as Greg Cosell of NFL Films has suggested, Foles is limited:
"I think if you look at Foles the player, what you likely see is this: He's got a good arm but not a gun; he's not a power thrower, not a drive thrower. He's a little more of a finesse thrower than a drive thrower. He does not have quick feet. There is no quick-twitch to his movement. There's no explosive lower-body movement to him. When you look at Foles, I think what you see is a quarterback that needs the system to work for him and provide defined reads and good throws with the route concepts, just the whole system. He needs the system to work for him... I don't think he's really any different [from last year]. Because he's not a quick-twitch guy, when he doesn't feel comfortable making a throw he'll start to look a little awkward because he's not quick twitch, he moves around."
Some of these limitations were on display as Foles struggled during the 2014 season.
A player like Foles can create a tough dilemma for the decisions makers on the Eagles. On one hand, they know he's a good guy to have around. On the other hand, there are concerns he might not be good enough to put the team over the top.
Just because someone is nice and hard-working doesn't necessarily mean they're good at their job. Parting ways with an employee who fits that description isn't easy but might be necessary if the ultimate goal isn't being reached.
Foles will likely have a chance to redeem himself in 2015. It goes without saying that he does on the field will matter more than anything.