We knew the Eagles were interested in adding one of the second-to-fourth-round quarterbacks in this year's NFL draft, we just weren't sure which one.
The suspense ended Friday night when the Birds used the 88th overall selection in the third round on Arizona QB Nick Foles, a 6-5, 243-pounder who throws hard but is faulted for having slow feet, in setting up as well as in fleeing pass rushers.
Both Eagles coach Andy Reid and Foles said that was a bad rap.
"If you watch film on me, I'm an athlete," Foles said. "I'm a basketball player, too (recruited by Georgetown and Baylor, Reid said). I feel like I can play against anyone in basketbal. Footballwise, I break tackles, I throw on the run, escapability ... I'm not a Mike Vick, by any means, but I am able to extend plays with my feet. I'm able to scamper around and throw it from awkward angles."
Foles said he has "functional speed.'
Foles had talked to the Eagles at the Senior Bowl, at the NFL Scouting Combine, at a workout for them in his hometown of Austin, Texas, then on a visit to NovaCare, so he had a pretty good indication they were interested. Reid said the team targeted Foles and Wisconsin's Russell Wilson. Wilson went to Seattle in the third round, 75th overall.
Foles said he perked up both times the Eagles picked in the second round Friday night, but about 10 minutes before they made their third-round selection, his power went out. He was literally in the dark about his selection until his phone rang with the call from Reid.
Reid called Foles "a big man, but also an athlete ... not necessarily a runner."
Reid stressed that Foles will compete with Mike Kafka and Trent Edwards, for spots behind Vick. (But it would be really unusual to cut a third-round pick his rookie year. In reality, Edwards and Kafka will do the competing, unless Foles gets hurt or is the worst rookie ever.)
"I like the way he throws the football," Reid said of Foles, 23, who began his college career at Michigan State, as the roommate of Garrett Celek, brother of Brent. Foles left Michigan State after a year for Arizona, where he became the starter three games after he became eligible to play, in 2009. Reid noted that Foles played behind a young offensive line last season, but threw well under pressure, took some big hits and never complained.
Reid said the pick wasn't about replacing Vick, who turns 32 in June. (Although that's why everyone thought the Birds might draft a QB.) He said he had offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg call Vick with a heads-up, so he didn't see the Eagles had drafted a QB on TV or on Twitter.
Foles said his power came back on as he was chatting with reporters on a conference call. He said his father believed the culprit was a squirrel.
Saturday, the Eagles pick 123rd in the fourth round, 153rd in the fifth, 194th in the sixth, 200th in the sixth, and 229th in the seventh, the much-anticipated Asante Samuel pick.
Get full Eagles coverage in our NFL Draft special section.