K.C. Chiefs Prospect: QB Nick Foles

QB Nick Foles, Arizona, 6-5, 240

Robert Griffin, three in one, may be out of reach which, I know, is not going to make one particular chief Chiefs addict very happy (I refer to RGIII as “three in one” because some people are already treating him like deity). Also, Landry Jones has decided to stay in school for another year and what that means for the Chiefs is that the other top 10 hopefuls move up one notch, but I doubt the Chiefs would have taken Jones in the first round anyway. So, what we can look at is, who the Chiefs may be targeting in the second round. QB Nick Foles fits the bill and I like him more than Landry Jones. No, he’s not RG, the three in one, but he could be a franchise QB.

Someone once wrote that Nick Foles is Dirk Nowitzki and Tom Petty’s love child. Not sure how that’s possible but you may see a slight resemblance to the two uber-stars. If Foles turns out to have half the star power that those two have, he will have had a very good career. To Nick Foles’ credit, I think he has what it takes.

Nick Foles, 22, is the best player on the worst team in the Pac-12: the University of Arizona. Consequently, the East-coast-biased-sporting-news-base, may have missed the boat on this promising QB prospect. He was rated by many ranking outlets as the 4th or 5th best QB in this draft behind Luck, Griffin III, Jones (before he went AWOL) and Tannehill. CBS Sports currently ranks Foles at #48 overall. That may be the correct positional ranking for him, but honestly he could be a first round talent and so, if he’s available in the second round, the Chiefs may want to snatch him up. I think he’d be a steal in the second.

Upside
Foles’ height is an obvious advantage for him, and it never appears that he loses sight of his intended receivers. He moves well in the pocket, sees the whole field well and although his 40 time is not going to blow you down, he does what many good pocket passers do, they stay alive until they can get the pass off.

Stats

4,334 yards, 28 TDs / 14 INTs in 2011. In 12 games.

3,192, 20/10 in 2010.  

2,486, 19/9 in 2009.

Foles completed 69.1% of his passes this year with a 145.6 passer rating, never having a passer rating lower than 116.7 in any game. Foles stayed for his senior season and has 3+ years of experience as a starter.

Foles is sometimes criticized for not going through his progressions and getting too locked in on one receiver. That may happen to a greater degree than can be determined by watching film on him, but I can’t scoff at the fact that he threw to 13 different receivers in 2011. He also threw 354 yards to his running backs and his top six receivers caught, 956, 666, 610, 606, 413 and 311 yards, respectively. All those yards distributed between that many players over only 12 games actually seems rather phenomenal.

So, if he can get locked onto one receiver he’s going to throw it to… it’s just not apparent from watching film on him.

Nick Foles was a one-man show on a team whose defense was horrible and allowed 425 points in 12 games, that’s 35 points per game. So, because Foles was always playing from behind, U. of A. running backs gained a total of 1,134 yards. On the other hand, if his running backs had gained more yards, maybe he wouldn’t always be playing from behind.

When it comes to offensive production, Foles was it. This also means he doesn’t have to have a running game to produce. A positive sign moving forward.

Nick Foles has a very good pump fake and an excellent play action fake.

Downside
Nick Foles’ weakness is his foot speed. While his footwork in the pocket is a plus, his overall speed in a minus. Then again, Ben Roethlisberger isn’t the fastest QB in world, and he does okay.

Foles was sacked 23 times in 2011. However, Big Ben was sacked 40 times this season. The reason I keep comparing him to Roethlisberger is because they are both almost exactly the same size and Foles’ durability in the pocket also reminds me of Roethlisberger.

The other aspect of Foles game that bothers me is that he sometimes throws the ball up for grabs. However, all the film I’ve seen on him shows him putting the ball where his receivers can catch it, and they usually do. The Chiefs could benefit from a few more jump balls being thrown but also need someone who is accurate.

Foles is above average in accuracy, not pin-point, but very good. He holds the ball high and tight under his chin as he drops back, while reading the defense, and from the time he decides to throw the ball, to the time the ball comes out of his hand… is very, very good and even top-notch at times. His timing and ability to make many different kinds of throws is part of what makes him impressive.

Foles has a strong arm, a nice, high release and can make the deep throws. He is the anti-Tebow in that he is strictly a pocket passer. So, he’s virtually never looking to run, makes all his positive moves in the air, and you’ll never see him running the option.

Foles will need to learn to look his receivers off so he doesn’t get intercepted. He’ll have to learn to do a better job of that or he’ll get eaten alive in the NFL. As I’ve mentioned before, some of his deep balls appear to hang too long and look like they’re up from grabs.

Demeanor
Foles is more like “Joe Cool” than the extroverted personality types such as Drew Brees or Phillip Rivers. Nor is he as charismatic as Cam Newton but definitely not as droll as Eli Manning.

The question I always have about any quarterback is, can they show themselves to be a leader of a football team? With Foles, I think that would have to come from him first showing that he can succeed at the next level, which I believe he can. Then, there will be plenty of guys who want to follow him. You might say that’s true for anyone, but some QBs arrive already exuding strength and power and that’s not exactly Foles’ style.

While I’m not crazy about the level of competition in the Pac-12, Nick Foles has done well in head-to-head battles with two of the best QBs in the nation even though his University of Arizona Wildcats defense was sub-standard.

Foles vs. Weeden
On September 8, 2011, Nick Foles was 37 of 51 for 398 yards and 1 TD. Brandon Weeden was 42 of 53 for 397 yards, two TDs and an INT. Oklahoma State won 37-14.

Foles vs. Luck
On Sept. 17, 2011, in a head-to-head game against Andrew Luck, Nick Foles was 24 of 33 for 239 yards with 1 TD and Luck was 20 of 31 for 325 and 2 TDs. Stanford won 37-10.

Links
Nick Foles highlights for 2010.
A video profile on Nick Foles.
Nick Foles on rehabbing his knee.

The strength of Nick Foles’ game has been buried at the bottom of the Pac-12, and the Chiefs could be the benefactors. Foles’ 6-5, 240 frame, high football IQ, blue collar work ethic and on-field success all point to him becoming a franchise QB. Also, because of his low-key personality, the Piolis of the world should fall in love with him too.

Fans at Arrowhead Addict are always talking about wanting the Chiefs to select a talented QB high in the draft and then develop him.

Well, here’s the chance.

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