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The Reasons Why Brett Hundley is a Great Fit for the Philadelphia Eagles
NFL Draft Preview
Finding a franchise Quarterback
With some of the struggles that Nick Foles has experienced this season due to injuries to himself and his teammates, some doubts about his ability to be a franchise quarterback have arisen. While Nick Foles is a good NFL player at the quarterback position, Chip Kelly's system appears to be the reason for a significant portion of his success last season. Nick Foles' lack of mobility in the high paced Eagles offense has been very apparent this season, with the Eagles needing a quarterback that can keep the defense honest on read option plays. Chip Kelly has adjusted his offense to fit Nick Foles' skill set, but this leads us to the reasons why drafting and developing a quarterback such as Brett Hundley might be something that is in the Eagles' best interest to do.
1. Brett Hundley is not a finished product
Some football fans will look at this as a negative thing to Brett Hundley as a "project", when for the Eagles this is actually something very positive. With pressure increasing every year for teams to play first round quarterbacks in year one, a draft pick like Hundley becomes even more of a fit for the Eagles who currently need to decide what they have in quarterback Nick Foles. Taking a player who has been labeled the way Hundley has could allow the Eagles to develop him properly before giving him the starting job. This in turn would give the Eagles plenty of time to see what Foles has to offer as he plays the early years of his physical prime. Right now Brett Hundley may not know how to go through his progressions the way an NFL franchise quarterback is able to do so routinely, but this can change over time when he is watching from the bench and learning the system in practice. Through this maturing process, Hundley can be molded into the quarterback that the Eagles would need him to be when called upon to start NFL games.
2. A mobile quarterback for Chip Kelly's offense
Brett Hundley has all the qualities that Chip Kelly looked for in his quarterbacks when he was recruiting players for University of Oregon. Hundley possesses much of the same raw abilities as a play maker, that Eagles fans saw from Russell Wilson in their recent matchup with Seattle. Of course Hundley is a taller quarterback than Wilson, with his length limiting his lateral quickness some, but his height is an advantage when he is standing tall in the pocket. Hundley has the arm strength to make every throw that will be required of him at the NFL level, and he has the speed to break a long touchdown run if the defense overcommits to stopping the running back on read option plays. Everything that Hundley is currently doing in the UCLA offense, are throws and reads that are similar to what he would be asked to do in the Eagles offense. Concerns about injuries in the NFL for a mobile quarterback like Hundley, become much less of a reality for a player his size. At 6 feet and three inches tall, weighing 227 pounds, Hundley has the solid build that should allow him to avoid major injuries from hits that he will take from similar sized players.
3. Chip Kelly's familiarity with Brett Hundley
While Brett Hundley has played his college football at UCLA, and Chip Kelly coached at Oregon, coach Kelly is familiar with the standout quarterback for the Bruins. Even though Chip Kelly's Oregon Ducks never faced Brett Hundley while he was in his final season with Oregon, coach Kelly was aware of him because of the possibility of having to prepare to face him in a conference championship game. Chip Kelly has been known to draft Oregon players and keep them on his roster, but he also tends to favor other players from the Pac-12 conference because he is familiar with their dynamic talent level. Tight End Zach Ertz from Stanford is a perfect example of this, as the Eagles used a high draft pick to add him to their team where he has become a significant part of their offensive attack over the past two seasons. This Pac-12 connection between Chip Kelly and Brett Hundley could go a long way towards making him a fit on the Eagles roster when he declares for the draft.
4. A scrambling quarterback adding to the fast pace offense
The fast pace offense that Chip Kelly employs, has a tendency to tire out defenses on possessions that last longer than six or seven plays. A scrambling quarterback like Brett Hundley can be a nightmare for defenses in these situations where they are experiencing shortness of breath. When the opposing defense does not have time to catch their breath, assignments become missed more frequently even when they do not have to respect the quarterback's ability to gain yardage on the ground. For a player like Brett Hundley to extend plays with his mobility in these situations, this could create the opportunities for huge plays by the Eagles offense along with better red zone efficiency. Brett Hundley's scrambling ability gives him the upper hand every time against a tired defense, as he is a threat to take it the distance himself every time he drops back to pass. Hundley is likely to scramble in order to create better passing lanes along with buying more time, but if a huge running lane opens up, he will take advantage. Brett Hundley's skill set at the quarterback position would also give the Eagles more options in short yardage situations in the high pace offense, while showing the opposing defense a very diverse offensive look.
5. The Eagles may not have to trade up to draft him
With the current hype that is surrounding Heisman favorite Marcus Mariota, along with teams with high draft picks having players that they believe can be their franchise quarterbacks, Brett Hundley could be available to the Eagles when they make their 2015 first selection. Currently Brett Hundley grades out as the third or fourth best quarterback prospect in the upcoming draft, which should allow him to fall to the latter half of the first round. With that said, this evaluation is being made before the professional scouts have had the opportunity to take a look at these quarterbacks at the NFL combine. Between now and draft day, it is possible that the grades on Brett Hundley could change if the NFL scouts really like the characteristics in Hundley that I believe make him a very strong NFL quarterback prospect.
The Eagles may end up finding that Nick Foles is their franchise quarterback who deserves the long term commitment, but until that happens, players like Brett Hundley need to be considered in the draft. If faced with a situation where Brett Hundley is the best player available with all the top defensive backs off the board earlier in the first round of the upcoming draft, at that point it would be wise for the Eagles to make Hundley their selection. The "rawness" of Brett Hundley's game is overstated at this point, as he is simply just a quarterback who needs the opportunity to learn how to play in the NFL before actually being asked to start ballgames. This should not be held against Hundley, but rather consideration should be given to the idea that many high picks at the quarterback position could have benefited from proper development recently. Overall Brett Hundley's skill set along with the way he plays the game already, make him a great fit for the Philadelphia Eagles where it would be in their best interest to draft him if presented with the opportunity.