04/29/2012 - A closer look at the Eagles' picks: Round 3/88 - Nick Foles, QB, 6-5, 244, Arizona...With Michael Vick turning 32 in June and in the final guaranteed year of his contract, the Eagles wanted to come out of this draft with a quarterback. They liked both Foles and Wisconsin's Russell Wilson. When Wilson went before their pick, it made the decision easy. - The Sports Xchange
Foles was moderately recruited out of high school, committing to Michigan State after originally choosing Arizona State. He played in only one game in 2007 as a true freshman as a backup QB in East Lansing, but decided to transfer to Arizona after the season and sat out 2008 due to transfer rules.
Foles didn't begin the 2009 season as the starter, but seized the role in the third game as a sophomore (260-for-409, 63.6%, 2,486 yards, 19 TDs, 9 INTs). Despite missing two games due to a knee injury in 2010, Foles improved as a junior (286-for-426, 67.2%, 3,191 yards, 20 TDs, 10 INTs).
He returned in 2011 as a senior and had his best statistical season despite a losing campaign (387-for-560, 69.1%, 4,334 yards, 28 TDs, 14 INTs), earning All-Pac 12 Honorable Mention honors for the third consecutive season (stuck behind Andrew Luck and Matt Barkley for first- or second-team honors).
Foles isn't an elite athlete, but can move in the pocket and has good feet, doing a better job stepping into the pocket while working through his progressions. He had only a .455 winning percentage as a starting quarterback (15-18), but was a consistent producer despite an inconsistent supporting cast.
Foles played behind a young offensive line in 2011 (only one combined start entering the season). He doesn't have any glaring weaknesses, but doesn't exactly stand out in any one area and is still developing as a passer. Foles showed better decisions as a senior and has the physical traits to compete for a starting job in the NFL.
Strengths: Foles is a big athlete with good height and stands tall in the pocket to survey the field. He has good (not elite) arm strength and can easily make all the NFL throws with effortless deep passes. Foles does a nice job evading pressure and stepping up in the pocket with improved pocket presence and awareness. He stays poised under pressure, keeping his eyes downfield. Foles throws well on the move and does a nice job shuffling his feet in the pocket to buy precious seconds. He is a very confident passer and shows very good accuracy and feel when in rhythm. Foles sees the entire field and understands coverage. He makes quick reads and spreads the wealth (eight Arizona players had at least 20 receptions in 2011), showing better ball placement from past years and throws very catchable passes. Foles uses good technique, squaring his shoulders to the target and stepping into his throws. He also uses deceptive and deliberate ball fakes to hold defenses. Foles works through his progressions and is content with underneath throws, but is not afraid of taking chances downfield, trusting his big-play targets. He is a very good competitor and is a crafty passer, doing whatever it takes to compete the pass. Foles is comfortable handling the ball (used the shuffle pass numerous times, including three times vs. USC in 2011). He has improved anticipation as a passer, making much more throws before his target is out of his break. Foles made better decisions as a senior and didn't suffer his first interception until the fifth game of the 2011 season (210 attempts without a pick). He has a short memory and bounces back quickly from mistakes. Foles is a vocal team leader and an ideal teammate, showing field general traits in the two-minute offense with no quit in him. He has very good practice habits and work ethic, watching a lot of film. Foles plays calm, confident and very even-keeled - never gets too high or too low regardless of the situation. He plays with his heart and is extremely tough, often playing hurt and grinding through injuries. Foles was highly productive in college, finishing as the school's all-time leading passer (10,011 yards) and led the Pac-12 in passing yards (4,334), completions (387), attempts (560) and second in completion percentage (69.1%) as a senior in 2011.
Weaknesses: Foles is only an average athlete and has happy feet with the bad habit of hopping in the pocket. He has a bit of a wind-up delivery and needs to quicken his throwing motion. Foles tends to rush throws and lose his mechanics at times, which leads to erratic passes. He has struggled with his decision-making and needs to improve his pre-snap recognition skills to read defenses and see blitzes. Foles doesn't decipher information as quickly as you would like. He is sometimes too patient as a passer, holding the ball too long, and needs to improve his internal clock. Foles puts too much air in some of his throws, sailing several of his passes and needs to show lower trajectory on deep throws. He needs to improve his touch at all levels and know when to gun it and when to take something off his throws. Foles' accuracy is solid, but far from great with streaky ball placement downfield as he tries to thread the needle too much. He needs to take better control of the ball (33 career INTs). Foles' record as a starter was only 15-18, including a disappointing 4-8 senior season with his head coach being fired. He doesn't come from a complicated college offense with mostly shotgun formations so expect a learning curve in the pros. Foles dealt with several injuries the past two seasons, most notably a left knee and hamstring injury so durability is a minor issue.
NFL Comparison: Chad Henne, Dolphins
-- Dane Brugler