Thursday, July 31, 2014
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National NFL columnist: Nick Foles is 'overrated'

Pete Prisco of CBS put out his annual overrated/underrated players for all 32 teams. I'll just get right to the conclusion up front -- His choices for the Eagles aren't good. To be fair, covering all 32 teams is very difficult. It's nearly impossible to have your finger on the pulse of all 32 fan bases, much less know all 32 teams anywhere near the level that their most hardcore fans do. Therefore, coming up with an overrated/underrated player for every team comes with a high level of difficulty.

National NFL columnist: Nick Foles is 'overrated'

Eagles quarterback Nick Foles (9) and cornerback Brandon Boykin (22). (Tony Gutierrez/AP)
Eagles quarterback Nick Foles (9) and cornerback Brandon Boykin (22). (Tony Gutierrez/AP)

Pete Prisco of CBS put out his annual overrated/underrated players for all 32 teams. I'll just get right to the conclusion up front -- His choices for the Eagles aren't good. To be fair, covering all 32 teams is very difficult. It's nearly impossible to have your finger on the pulse of all 32 fan bases, much less know all 32 teams anywhere near the level that their most hardcore fans do. Therefore, coming up with an overrated/underrated player for every team comes with a high level of difficulty.

Here was Prisco's choice for the most "overrated" Eagle:

Overrated: QB Nick Foles ­­-- Let's slow the train down some, OK. He did some good things last season, but you'd think he was a star already. It takes time. Let's see him do it again. Not saying he can't, but let's see it again.

Slow down what train? Who exactly is overrating Nick Foles? Is anyone calling him a top-five quarterback? A top-10 QB? Is Foles doing Beats by Dre commercials that I'm not aware of? Is he flashing money signs whenever he's on camera? In a league where fans and media massively overrate "the next great QBs," Foles has remained a quiet figure nationally, and many who have talked about Foles have downplayed his 2013 season, opting to cite Chip Kelly's presence in Philly as his biggest reason for success.

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It's interesting that Prisco wrote "you'd think he was a star already." One player who is already thought of as a "star" is Colts QB Andrew Luck. Luck has played two full seasons in the NFL, and therefore he has more passing attempts than Foles. Luck has 1,197 career passing attempts, while Foles has 582. However, if you were to project Foles' numbers to 1,197 pass attempts, here's a side-by-side comparison of Luck's and Foles' numbers:

But Luck was the first overall pick in the 2012 draft, while Foles was 88th. So I guess it's OK to call Luck a "star," but not Foles. Nobody here is trying to make a claim that Foles is a better player than Luck, but it is certainly interesting why one player is thought of as star by most NFL pundits, while the other, with much better numbers, shows up on a list of "overrated" players. 

Nick Foles is boring. His interviews are boring. His style of play could be considered boring, at least in comparison to his predecessor, Michael Vick. His off-the-field life seems incredibly boring, especially for a 25-year-old QB who just finished with the third highest single season QB rating of all time. That's not a criticism, by the way. That's exactly what you want from your franchise QB. But it also makes his inclusion as an "overrated" player all the more strange. I can't even imagine a world where Johnny Manziel throws for 27 touchdowns and two interceptions. That's a world I want no part of. If anything, Foles' season last year has been under-appreciated.

Is it fair to want to see Foles play well again in 2014 before anointing him a great QB? Absolutely. And that's exactly what the consensus take on him is. 

On the "underrated" side, Prisco highlighted some guy whose name I'm completely unfamiliar with.

Underrated: CB Brandon Boykin --­­ Who? He doesn't start, but as the nickel corner he is a key to their defense. Boykin doesn't have the size to be a full­-time starter outside, but he is plenty good on the inside.

"Who" indeed. I've never heard of this person.

OK, kidding aside... Boykin has done appearances as an analyst on NFL Network, and Sports Illustrated recently featured him for having a great body. He also sealed the Eagles' division title with an INT of Kyle Orton in a game that every football fan across the country saw. While I agree Boykin is a worthy of praise, he gets his share.

So who should have made the list?

I think a better choice for the "overrated" player would have been DeMeco Ryans, who is considered by some as the most indispensable player on the defense. Personally, I don't see it that way. The inside linebacker position in a 3-4 defense is a playmaker position, and I can't help but wonder if a more athletically gifted player would make more game-changing plays. Ryans has great intangibles (toughness, leadership, smarts, etc), but he's a liability in the passing game. The intangibles are cetainly great qualities, but if your coaching staff has to rely on a player to make sure the other 10 guys on defense know what they're supposed to be doing, then I'm of the opinion that the coaches aren't doing a good job. And I just don't think that's the case in Philly.

As for the better "underrated" choice, I might be inclined to go with Jason Kelce here. Nationally, I'd be surprised if many people knew he even existed, which is understandable because of the position he plays. Locally, there were some fans who were upset that he received a large new deal because they wanted someone bigger, which is not understandable. Kelce is already a Pro Bowl caliber player, who is going to be making deserved perennial trips to Honolulu (or wherever the Pro Bowl is these days) very soon. 

Follow Jimmy on Twitter: @JimmyKempski

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