There is an argument that the Eagles must draft a QB early this year. Chip Kelly is the new coach and he must have a QB to build around. That could be Geno Smith in the 1st round or EJ Manuel or Ryan Nassib in the 2nd round. You must get a QB early. Andy Reid did it with Donovan and look how that turned out. The coach had his guy and was able to groom him and build a team around him.
There is definite logic in this thinking. But it can also be flawed.
Dom Capers was the first ever coach of the Houston Texans. He drafted David Carr 1st overall to build his team around. Lane Kiffin took over the Oakland Raiders in 2007. He drafted JaMarcus Russell 1st overall to build his team around. Both players failed. Both coaches were fired. Both organizations struggled.
Peyton Manning was taken 1st overall in 1998 and we all know how things turned out for him. Was he simply better? That’s a big part of it, but also think about his supporting cast. The first RB he handed the ball to was HOF’er Marshall Faulk. The WR he threw to was Marvin Harrison, a potential HOF’er. His LT was Tarik Glenn, a 3-time Pro Bowl player. Peyton stepped onto a team that had a good offensive foundation in place. The weight of the world wasn’t on him. Carr and Russell had nothing close to this in terms of protection or weapons. Their poor play was partially due to circumstances. QBs do not win alone.
The Eagles have 2 of the top 35 picks in the draft. If they can land good players with both, the overall team will improve. That would take the pressure off whoever is the short term QB in 2013 and the long term QB in the future. You could add a stud OT to build a great line to play behind. You could load up on defense and give the QB help in that way.
Think about Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick. Both QBs were taken outside of the 1st round. Both played very well. Both had good running games, good to very good OL play, and outstanding defense. The overall teams were strong enough that there wasn’t as much pressure on them to be perfect.
If SEA or SF had a chance to draft an elite QB like Andrew Luck or RG3, they’d have done it in a heartbeat. Since neither team had anything close to a top pick, they went the other route and focused on building the top team possible. They found QBs that fit what they wanted outside the 1st round.
All 32 teams want elite QBs. There just aren’t that many great ones coming out of college. The Eagles have the #4 pick this year, but there is no franchise QB. The Eagles could feel that Geno Smith is close enough and worth the risk at #4. I do not feel that way. I’m not sold on Manuel or Nassib in the 2nd. All 3 QBs are talented. All 3 have NFL potential. I just feel like I’d rather build up the overall team and find a QB I do believe in.
Chip Kelly’s vote has a bit more influence than mine so we’ll have to wait and see what he thinks. Don’t get frustrated if the Eagles do pass on taking a QB early. That doesn’t mean we’re doomed to the Ray Rhodes QB carousel. Kelly can get one next year.
While this draft isn’t loaded with great passers, there is plenty of talent to be had. You can make a strong argument the Eagles would be wise to focus on the overall team. Let Kelly spend 2013 trying to figure things out and then go get his QB in 2014. After watching Mike Vick and Nick Foles play this spring, summer, and probably fall, Kelly might decide it is imperative to get a mobile QB or that he does want more of a pocket passer. Right now the NFL is a mystery to Kelly. He’s got plans on what to do and what he wants, but reality could be very different from his plans.
A few of you have asked about Foles in the comments section. Here’s the deal. He’s unknown. Foles could prove to be a great fit and the QB of the future. He could prove to be a square peg in a round hole and look awful. You cannot make QB plans around a player you don’t know about. The Eagles would be happy to spend a pick on a QB this year and have that player sit and watch as Foles played great football. The team wants a star QB. They don’t care who it is or where he comes from. Heck, wait til Kelly watches Isaac Sopoaga throwing those 70-yard passes in practice. NT/QB. Talk about your hybrid players.
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Today is April 1st. Chip Kelly is finally allowed to talk to the players and start to go over schemes and roles. I’d love to tell you we’ll get answers right away, but that’s probably not the case. At least now some information can start to trickle in.