By Mary Cunningham
There is a reason quarterback is the most important position in football, and more so in the NFL.
Everything in the game begins and stems from what the QB does.
If you have a top-notch signal-caller your chances for success improve.
If not, you are toast.
So, when Eagles Supreme Leader Chip Kelly traded Nick Foles (above) to the St. Louis Rams for their seemingly jinxed Sam Bradford, who was coming off two ACL surgeries, the NFL world was stunned.
It sort of gave historical validation to the malapropic quote from former Eagles coach and GM Joe Kuharich, who after dealing QB Sonny Jurgensen to the Redskins for QB Norm Snead, said:
“Trading quarterbacks is rare but it’s not unusual!”
So, the good people at ESPN have rated all 32 NFL quarterbacks, and here’s how Foles and Bradford stack up:
22. Nick Foles | St. Louis Rams
Average rating: 3.20 | Change in rating: -25%
2014 Rank: 15
Voters gave Foles the benefit of the doubt heading into 2014, but not after a down season. His average ranking fell 25 percent from 2.56 to 3.2, the fourth-largest percentage dip among the 27 returning starters. Some evaluators are interested to see how he fares away from Chip Kelly’s offense.
“Truthfully, I think Foles is a 4,” a personnel director said. “I think in that Chip Kelly system, once he figured it out, he operated it and did a great job early on. But I do not think he is talented [enough] where he will be that way year in and year out, or week in and week out. He is a little stiff in the pocket. I don’t think he has great arm strength. He has pretty good accuracy. I don’t know that he sees everything.”
One coach lauded Foles for his toughness, good passing ability and functional mobility, but when he studied Foles against Jacksonville last season, he saw a quarterback who had trouble seeing wide-open receivers down the field.
“You wish he was your backup because he could go win some games for you, but I wouldn’t want him to be my starter,” a head coach said.
A personnel director called Foles a “solid 3” who should upgrade the situation in St. Louis.
T-23. Sam Bradford | Philadelphia Eagles
Average rating: 3.23 | Change in rating: -3.6%
2014 Rank: T-21
Bradford fell a bit in the rankings based on his inability to stay healthy in recent seasons, making just seven of 32 potential starts since 2013.
“I thought he was a 2 coming out because I did not see the big arm,” a head coach said. “No one could tell from his pro day because [agent] Tom Condon wouldn’t let him throw any deep comebacks. He has the intangibles, but you have to give him a 3 or 4 just because he is always hurt. Frankly, you probably want him to be your backup, just for his availability.”
A defensive coordinator said he thought Bradford could flourish playing in Philadelphia because the Eagles’ play-action game could buy him time he did not have in St. Louis. This coordinator added that Bradford would be an upgrade from Foles and Sanchez in terms of accuracy, but with the injury concerns, he placed Bradford only in the third tier.
“There is no quarterback I loved more than him coming out,” a different head coach said. “I am pulling for him. If he can stay healthy, he can be so accurate. Keep him as a 3 but only because of the injury factor.”