In the coming weeks I will do a series of posts on the Philadelphia Eagles and how their players stack up at each position. These Tiers are an indication of what talent level can reasonably be expected of each player for the 2013 season. Future potential and contract status are not really taken into consideration, as this is more an indication of a players talent level and expected production.
Description: Top level starter, at elite or near elite level, absolute lock to both make the team and start. Won’t face any competition for his job.
Description: Quality starter who may have some minor struggles in a given year, but overall is a good football player. Typically just outside the elite/near elite level. Should both easily make the team and start. Will be one of the key players on the team.
-Despite a disappointing year in 2011, there was some optimism to start last season after the Eagles won their final four games and Vick played probably his best football of the season during that run. Even with the Jason Peters injury the hope was the team had enough time to overcome the loss. Unfortunately, the offensive line injuries kept mounting, and the Eagles once proud offensive line could no longer offer the protection that Vick needed. With the increased pressure Vick saw both his passing and rushing numbers fall, while at the same time his sacks and turnovers rose. Injuries once again sidelined Vick during the season, but by that time the Eagles were pretty much out of it. Though questions about Vick’s effectiveness are legitimate for this coming season, two things could help make him be a pretty effective quarterback again. For one thing the line should be fully healthy and further strengthened with the addition of offensive tackle Lane Johnson. Also, in Vick’s favor is the fact that Chip Kelly has consistently shown that he can get the most out of athletically gifted quarterbacks. Whether or not Kelly can put together an effective passing offense is in question, but he is a guy who could potentially get a lot of value out of Micheal Vick. Even with a better offensive system and an improved line, it is likely that injuries and turnovers will keep Vick from being in the top tier.
Description: Passable starter, can play the position and be okay, but won’t consistently play at a high level. Will be streaky throughout the season and over the course of many seasons. Depending on position would be better served as a good role player, or would be the best reserve player at a position. Should make the team, though not a lock and should face competition for a starting job.
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-Foles was dealt a bad hand last year when he was forced into the starting role midway through the season. Not only was he asked to start too soon, but he was without the help of star running back LeSean McCoy and wide receiver DeSean Jackson for much of his time last season. To make matters worse Foles played behind a line that was missing three starters for his entire time under center. Despite the bad situation Foles made the most it, completing 60.7% of his passes for 1,699 yards and six touchdowns. Foles is definitely one of the promising young back-up quarterbacks in the league, though how he will fit into this new system is very much in question. Foles is a type of quarterback who would excel in both quick passing and attacking deep. Though the Eagles might have their share of quick passes, Foles doesn’t seem to fit either the style of HC Chip Kelly or OC Pat Shumur. If Foles were to play he could do alright, but it is likely not going to be a good system fit for him in Philadelphia. His best value may be as a trade chip when some team has a quarterback injury this year.
Description: Replacement level starter. This is a guy who could start in a pinch or as a long-term injury replacement but will max out as an average starter, and will probably be below average. He’s a guy who could be okay as a short term filler, but over an extended period will struggle. Depending on position could be a solid player, or would be a good back-up. Has a decent chance to make the team, and could get a look at a starting job, but nothing is set in stone for him.
-Barkley was once considered the top quarterback prospect in this year’s draft class, but a poor senior year and a shoulder injury which limited his offseason work (i.e. Senior Bowl, Combine) led Barkley to slide in the draft. The Eagles grabbed him in the 4th round in what was a bit of a surprise pick to many. Barkley doesn’t fit the mold of what most are expecting out of Chip Kelly’s offense, though he would fit the west coast offense run by new offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur. Though it has left some people scratching their heads, Barkley is a smart pick for the Eagles. None of the other teams running read option style offenses, have back-ups capable of that same offense, so what does it matter if Philly does. Barkley is a nice insurance policy for the Eagles, and if things go right, could even allow them to trade Nick Foles if an offer comes through. Barkely could have some nice potential in the right offense, but shouldn’t be expected to do much this season if called upon.
Description: Solid back-up caliber player. Shouldn’t really ever start, and would be below average in that capacity, but can be a short term injury replacement. Shouldn’t even be much of a role player depending on the position, their best value is in their reliability as a replacement. Depending on the position, should be capable of backing up multiple positions or roles to increase their value. Has a chance to make the team, but really shouldn’t be considered a starting option at all.
-Despite a major knee injury his senior year, Dixon was drafted in the 5th round by the Steelers in the 2008 draft. In his four years in Pittsburgh Dixon was called upon to start three games (he went 2-1), attempted 59 passes for 402 yards, and completed one touchdown. Dixon also added 56 rushing yards and a touchdown on 10 rushing attempts. Though Dixon had a little success the Steelers he clashed with management after demanding a trade. The Steelers made little attempt to sign him last year, and Dixon saw little interest in free agency. He finally signed with the Ravens practice squad at the start of the season and was essentially Baltimore’s third quarterback last season. Dixon played under Chip Kelly at Oregon making him a logical fit in Philly this offseason. He’s not a good enough passer to be a starting option there, but given his running potential he could be an okay back-up in the right system. Still unless a trade is worked out for Nick Foles, Dixon may have a tough time making the roster.
Description: Replacement level player. Not considered at all for a starting role, and isn’t even considered a viable back-up. Really only has a shot to make the team if injuries thin out the competition. Overall has a poor chance to make a roster, and is a player who will likely be replaced during the season.
-Kinne was an undrafted free agent signed by the Jets in 2012 out of Tulsa. Kinne didn’t even make it to training camp with the Jets last season, and was picked up by the Eagles in March. He was thought of as potentially a decent developmental back-up QB before the draft last year, but his longterm upside is pretty limited. He’s a longshot to make the team or even the practice squad, and is probably just a camp body at this point.