There will be a lot of changes as the Eagles make the transition from the Andy Reid era to the Chip Kelly era. Possibly the biggest position that is in need of change is the quarterback if Chip Kelly decides to stick with the read-option. Michael Vick has proved he is not the answer because he is a turnover machine and he can’t stay on the field for a full season. Nick Foles showed some promise but didn’t do enough to completely solidify himself as the starter next season. The biggest obstacle Foles may face next season is that he isn’t mobile enough to run Chip Kelly’s offense. The options available at quarterback via free agency isn’t impressive and there isn’t a clear cut option in the draft like last year. This draft class doesn’t have an RG3 or Andrew Luck caliber quarterback in it but that doesn’t mean the solution for the Birds can’t be found this April.
There will be a couple of options in this draft that Chip Kelly will be considering. My boy Frank Cap @TheFrankCap on twitter has already told you about Ryan Nassib. I want to tell you about E.J. Manuel. Manuel is 6-5 240 lbs who threw for 3392 yards and 23 TD’s with a 68% completion rate in 2012 for the Florida State Seminoles. He also rushed for 310 yards and 4 TD’s. Manuel is a dual threat quarterback with a dynamite skill set. As a passer he has a cannon arm and a quick release. His size and strength coupled with his mobility gives him great escapability. Manuel would fit Chip Kelly’s style of offense and we know Kelly liked him out of high school when Chip tried to recruit him.
So his skill set would be a fit for the Eagles and Chip Kelly likes him but that’s not all. Manuel has just recently made it known that the feeling is mutual. Speaking to 97.5 the Fanatic, he said he hopes he impressed Chip Kelly at the Senior Bowl. “I’m just hoping that he gives me the opportunity,” said Manuel. “I would love to come and play in his offense, I would love to play for him and I would love to be his guy. It’s kind of starting off his tenure in the NFL, and I would love to be his first quarterback. I think it would be a great relationship.” He is off to a good start with Eagles fans already. We love players that want to come here.
Now like I said earlier there isn’t a clear cut option out of the draft so that means there are some flaws in Manuel’s game he will have to work on. Some have called into question his decision making and feel he is not a natural passer. His accuracy has been inconsistent at times and he struggled against stronger defensives including an ugly game against Florida. Manuel will need to work on becoming a passer in the NFL and not just a thrower. But his draft stock is rising after a strong showing in the Senior Bowl. He was 7-10 with 76 yards passing and a pair of TD’s (one rushing, one passing) on two drives and won the games MVP. Most likely he won’t be a first round pick and the Eagles definitively shouldn’t take him fourth overall but they could pick him in the second round. Although the track record for second round quarterbacks is not great, a franchise quarterback can be found in the second round if a team has an eye for talent and can develop that talent. Colin Kaepernick just showed what you can get out of a quarterback picked in the second round. Andy Dalton was also a second round pick in 2011, Drew Brees was the 32nd pick in 2001 and Brett Favre was picked 33rd in 1991. If Manuel is the Eagles second round pick hopefully he will follow in these second rounders footsteps.