The wait is over and Nick Foles’ NFL dream is finally a reality.
The 6-foot-5, 243-pound quarterback was selected by the Philadelphia Eagles with the 88th pick of the 2012 NFL draft, making him the first UA starting quarterback to be drafted since 1961.
“I’m an Eagle!!!” Foles tweeted. “So honored to be a part of such a great organization!”
Foles will join head coach Andy Reid in Philly, where he visited last week. On his visit Foles met with Reid, Philadelphia’s quarterbacks coach as well as some of the players, including Michael Vick, who he’ll learn from as a backup next season. The Eagles also worked him out in Austin, Texas during the draft process.
“I did get the sense that they were interested,” Foles said in a conference call.
The Eagles were clearly interested enough to select Foles and his “huge arm,” as Reid described it in a one-on-one interview on Philadelphia’s team website.
“The mechanics are good. That’s one thing that we try to really hone in on,” Reid said. “He’s got a huge arm. He’s got over a 10.5 inch hand. He’s got those basketball feet so he moves in the pocket so well. His accuracy has always been so good and I don’t think that will change at the NFL level.”
Reid was also quick to defend Foles and the criticism he’s faced for his lack of mobility. The Eagles head coach cited Foles’ high school basketball prowess and said Foles will have no problem moving around in the pocket at the next level.
“Even though he’s big he still moves around pretty good. He’s got a great feel in the pocket,” Reid said. “He knows when he needs to move. He is a good athlete.”
After four quarterbacks went off the board in the first round Foles was projected to be drafted in the mid-second to early-third round. Brock Osweiler (Denver) and Russell Wilson (Seattle) were selected in front of Foles, however, making him wait until the end of the third round.
But when he fell to the Eagles at No. 88 overall, 31 spots behind Osweiler, Reid said the decision was “unanimous with our coaches” and there aren’t many situations better for Foles.
He’ll be able to mature behind Vick and when he finally gets his chance he’ll have a handful of offensive weapons to throw to in DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and electrifying running back LeSean McCoy.
Foles said “I’m not Mike Vick by any means,” but he won’t have to be with those type of weapons around him. Former UA quarterbacks coach Frank Scelfo said before the draft that there’s no question Foles will eventually be an NFL starter.
“He’ll have a great career,” Scelfo said, citing Foles work ethic, smarts, arm and ability to keep plays alive in the pocket. “He’s going to have a good career man.”
That career will start in Philadelphia, and if his UA production is any indication he’ll have a successful NFL career. He’s Arizona’s all-time leader in passing yards, touchdowns, attempts and completions. He holds single-season records for those categories as well.
Foles led the Pac-12 last season in passing yards per game with 360.8 and total offense with 352.2 yards per contest. He also finished the season with the second-best completion percentage in the league as he connected on 69.1 of his attempts.
More from Reid on Foles
On Foles dealing with UA’s inexperienced offensive line last season: “He never complained about it. He rallied those kids around him. He took some pretty big hits knowing that those kids were going to be some pretty good players down the road, but they were learning at that time. His percentage under pressure was as good or better than anybody in the country. There are a lot of guys that can take the hit but then their production after the hit isn’t good. There are guys who can’t take the hit at all. And then the guys you want to find, those are the ones who get hit, they bounce themselves back up, and then they’re throwing strikes right afterwards. There’s no flinching. You’ve got to have an iron will to do that. He was able to do that at the college level and we’re hoping that transfers.”
On where Foles will be on the depth chart: “They’re all competing. I can tell you I don’t know Trent (Edwards) as well, but I know Mike Kafka and I like what I’ve seen from Mike. I like what I’ve seen from Michael Vick. I keep going back and saying those two, this is their first offseason working with us. I’ve got a lot of confidence in Mike Kafka. And I’ve got a lot of confidence that Mike (Vick) is going to continue to play. He’s a young 32 you’d say. This isn’t to replace (Vick). That’s not what I’m doing with this pick. I want to get another quarterback. We all know that’s an important position. If you see one out there you like, you snag him up, bring him on board and let him compete.”