The biggest topic of conversation this offseason surrounding the Eagles has to do with their starting quarterback situation. Right off the bat, I would like to go on record as saying that Mark Sanchez is obviously not the answer, but I think everyone outside the "Sanchise" himself was aware of that. The bigger question at hand is with Philly's incumbent starter Nick Foles. If he is not the long-term answer, then head coach Chip Kelly has some tough decisions to make between now and this season's NFL Draft to figure out who is?
Most football experts continue to insist that Kelly would love to have Marcus Mariota in the fold after coaching the gifted quarterback at Oregon, but are we so sure that he has given up on Foles' ability to become a franchise quarterback in this league? Maybe I am still clinging to the third-year vet's stellar performance in the 2013 season when he led the Birds to a NFC East title.
Anyone who has read my blog on a regular basis would know that I have always been a big Nick Foles' fan and I still believe he has a great chance to be a quality starting quarterback in the NFL. I also know that his problems last season can be corrected starting with taking better care of the ball. Eagles' fans are notorious for having short memories when it comes to this team, but there is a reason why Foles was able to throw 27 touchdowns against just two interceptions in that 2013 run to a division title. I am not making any excuses for last year's major regression to 13 scoring strikes verse 10 picks in eight starts, I am simply stating that it is hard to make an accurate evaluation of Foles' future potential on a sampling of just 21 games under Kelly's tutelage.
Turning to the situation of Kelly trying to wheel and deal his way to landing Mariota, my question is has Chip come right out and said that this is his plan? I realize he would keep something this big as close to the vest as possible, but he is also smart enough to realize just how dangerous it can be to mortgage your future by giving-up a number of top draft picks or key veterans to land just one player. Go ask Washington how that plan worked with RG III.
I am not doubting that Mariota can quickly turn into a big-time quarterback in this league, but I also know that there are no guarantees he will. Maybe, by some stroke of fate, he will continue to fall in the draft after being projected as the No. 1 overall pick. Right now both Mel Kiper and Todd McShay have him going sixth to the New York Jets, but it is hard to believe he would fall all the way to 20th, which is where the Eagles will be on the clock in the first round.
A third option would be to select a different quarterback either in the first round or later in the draft. Kelly's early success in the NFL has been built around a system that is tailored towards his starting quarterback's strengths, but having one that would be more mobile in the same vein as Seattle's Russell Wilson could turn a very good offense into a championship-caliber one.
One name that is starting to gain some traction in the mock draft circuit is former UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley. He immediately fits the mold given that he played his college ball in the Pac-12. We all know about Kelly's affinity for this conference with some of his past personnel moves. Hundley has the prototypical size to succeed at the next level at 6-foot-3, 227 lbs. He has also proven that he is mobile with 644 rushing yards this past season to go along with 3,155 passing yards and 22 touchdown throws. He completed an impressive 69.1 percent of his 392 attempts and he was only intercepted five times.
Whatever Kelly decides to do about the Eagles' quarterback situation remains to be seen and it should continue be a lively topic of conversation over the next few months. As far as my two cents on the matter, I would still give Foles the benefit of the doubt and draft Hundley as a viable alternative a bit down the road if things do not pan out. That is unless Mariota somehow fall into the Eagles' lap at a much lower cost.