Arm speed and slow feet pushed Foles down draft board, analysts said

Posted: April 28, 2012

Marty Mornhinweg had one question for Doug Pederson after he worked out Nick Foles.

The Eagles offensive coordinator and quarterback sage wanted to know if the Arizona prospect could really spin the football.

"And Doug comes back and he's like, 'Oh, yeah, he comes out really strong,' " Mornhinweg recalled Saturday, a day after the Eagles selected Foles in the third round of the NFL draft.

Mornhinweg liked what he saw on film of the 6-foot-5, 246-pound quarterback. But some things - like a thrower's velocity - you want to see in person. The reason why Foles was only the seventh quarterback taken off the board had nothing to do arm strength, though.

The concerns, according to some analysts, were over his arm speed and what many have called cement feet.

"I know the big thing is that everybody says I'm not mobile," Foles said at the NovaCare Complex. "But I feel like I can move around and extend plays with my feet, break tackles and throw off balance."

Mornhinweg said he first met Foles at the combine in February and came away impressed. The 23-year old also visited Eagles headquarters leading up to the draft. The requisite background check was done by general manager Howie Roseman and his staff.

Mornhinweg also checked with former Arizona coach Mike Stoops, a former Arena League teammate of his, to get another inside perspective.

"He's got some natural instincts, feet better than people think," Mornhinwg said. "But when you watch the film one thing stands out - the guy's one tough, tough dude."

He's still viewed as a developmental quarterback, which is fine for the Eagles, who have Michael Vick as their starter. Vick is signed for four more years, but only the coming season is fully guaranteed. Still, Foles is a long way from being considered a franchise quarterback.

"I don't think a team could ever have enough good quarterbacks," Vick said.

The Eagles have four quarterbacks, including Mike Kafka and Trent Edwards, who will likely fight it out for the backup spot. Eagles coach Andy Reid said he was confident Kafka could be the No. 2 even though he has only 16 career passes.

"It's a feel," Reid said. "I watch his work effort."

Foles has plenty of work ahead of him. The Eagles handed him four playbooks of their West Coast offense when he arrived Saturday. Arizona's offense ran a lot of shotgun, with plenty of spread formations.

"He can improve on this level," Vick said. "This is going to be a great opportunity for him to come in and compete, which is what we're all doing week-in and week-out."

Reid spent much of the offseason flirting with quarterbacks other than Vick. He met with Robert Griffin III at the combine, admitted that the Eagles entertained the idea of signing Peyton Manning and was linked several times to Ryan Tannehill.

He was asked if the Eagles would have picked Tannehill in the first round had the Texas A&M quarterback fallen to the Eagles instead of defensive tackle Fletcher Cox.

"I probably wasn't going to go in that direction," Reid said.

Kendricks the answer?

Can Mychal Kendricks be the one?

Can he turn out to be the first Pro Bowl-caliber linebacker that Reid has drafted in 14 years?

"You guys haven't had a franchise linebacker in a while," Kendricks said Saturday a day after the Eagles drafted him in the second round. "So why not me?"

The California linebacker appears to have all the tools - speed, instincts, and aggressiveness. Of course, the same was probably said when Reid expended second-round picks on Barry Gardner, Quinton Caver and Matt McCoy.

The Eagles envision Kendricks as their next strong-side linebacker, one physical enough to take off blockers in the run game, one quick enough to run with tight ends in the pass game.

"The way I see it is, linemen can't touch me, running backs can't see me," said Kendricks, who ran a 4.47-second 40-yard dash at the combine in February.

Reid on Asante

Reid tried to explain why he received only a seventh-round pick in Wednesday's trade with the Falcons for cornerback Asante Samuel.

"He wanted to play in Atlanta," Reid said. "Now did we check just with Atlanta? No, we checked with the whole league. That was really the best we could do."

The Eagles had backed themselves into a corner with Samuel, and with Reid looking to place the 31-year old near his family in Florida, there "weren't a whole lot of teams, to be honest with you, that were interested," Reid said.

Extra points

Reid said he wasn't "closing the door" on acquiring a veteran safety. The Eagles did not add a safety in the draft. . . . The coach also said that he hasn't ruled tackle Jason Peters, who ruptured his Achilles tendon last month, out for the season.

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