Philadelphia Eagles: Chip Kelly's Best Options at QB

Dilan Ames@@DilanAmesNFLCorrespondent IFebruary 5, 2013

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 17: Chip Kelly talks to the media after being introduced as the new head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles during a news conference at the team's NovaCare Complex on January 17, 2013 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The former Oregon coach surprised many after he initially turned down NFL clubs saying he would remain at Oregon. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
Rich Schultz/Getty Images

It is clear that the biggest decision Chip Kelly will have to make this offseason is at the quarterback position. Many people question whether Kelly’s offense can still function without a mobile quarterback at the helm, but Kelly maintains that he can work with any quarterback

The question then becomes "who?" It is likely that incumbent starter Napoleon Dynamite, er...I mean Nick Foles won’t be “the guy” come opening day next season. However, the other quarterback on the Eagles roster might find himself back in control of the starting spot. 

Michael Vick is exactly the type of player that would have success in Kelly’s speedy offense. He’s a mobile guy who can also throw the ball around with a nice zip on it, but he has been riddled with injury his whole career, and will also be 33 in June. 

Vick and Foles are what Philly has right now, but that is bound to change drastically once free agency and the draft rolls around. There are four guys that come to mind that would be plausible options at the quarterback position for the Eagles. 

They all have shown the abilities necessary to thrive in the kind of offense that Kelly will be running, and any one of these guys could be the starter for the Eagles next season.



Michael Vick

It is no secret that Vick’s best days are behind him, but he may have just enough juice left for one more good season. A couple of years ago, when he won Comeback Player of the Year, Vick was lighting up the field with both his arm and legs, and showed the type of ability that made him such a high pick years back. 

It should come as no surprise that his production waned dramatically this past year behind a shoddy offensive line, but if the Eagles can fix their woes on the front lines then Vick will have a chance to prove his worth once again. 

While it doesn’t seem like he is at the end of his career, he definitely does not have many good years left in him, and this could be his last chance to prove that he is one of the great players of this era. 

The offensive weapons are in place for Vick to be successful, and if Kelly gives him the opportunity then he should have some success. The bigger question with Vick is if he will be a better option than the other three guys on this list. It's going to be interesting, that's for sure.



E.J. Manuel

Manuel was perhaps the player with the most buzz after Senior Bowl week. After an MVP performance that certainly improved his draft stock, the former Seminole has turned heads with his athletic ability and knack for putting the ball into tight spots. 

Many people have him slotted to be drafted between the third and fourth rounds, but with the combine coming up later this month, he will have many chances to improve his stock even more. With a strong combine performance, Manuel could sneak into the second round, and possibly the bottom of the first. 

This is one of the weakest quarterback classes in years, and Manuel may be the quarterback with the most potential, especially in Kelly’s offense. It wasn’t so long ago that another Florida State passer snuck into the first round after being graded a later-round talent. 

Christian Ponder certainly hasn’t had a spectacular career to date, and I think that Manuel is the better player between the two. If Ponder can be drafted in the top 20, then I believe Manuel also has the potential to, especially with many teams hungry for a quarterback. 

Manuel’s combination of size and speed has drawn comparisons to Cam Newton, and he has the ability to match. Manuel has also been gaining much popularity with the Eagles’ fan base, and for good reason. 

Manuel has all the tools necessary to run Kelly’s offense and may turn out to be the best quarterback out of this year’s draft five years from now. 



Geno Smith

Smith is largely considered to be the best quarterback prospect in this year’s draft, but after a rough senior season that ended on a low note in a 38-14 loss to Syracuse in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, Smith’s stock may be falling some. 

Smith could be picked up by Philadelphia in one of two ways. The first is if the Chiefs pass on him and he does end up falling into the Eagles’ desperate laps, then he may be too good to pass up. The second scenario is if the Eagles trade for the first overall pick, a situation that could very well happen. 

If the Eagles do decide that Smith is their guy, they could likely strike a deal with the Chiefs and their new head coach, someone they are all to familiar with. Andy Reid has a very good reputation with quarterbacks and their development, but drafting Smith with the first overall pick may be too rich of a price when they have many other glaring needs that must be addressed. 

So, if Reid looks to trade out of the first overall slot, the Eagles may be there to pick it up. The Eagles could get their quarterback of the future, and the Chiefs would gain a veteran player who is already familiar with the offense along a few more draft picks.

Reid already has a relationship with Vick and may think that he would be a good fit in Kansas City. It makes sense, too. Vick would be protected by a very good, veteran offensive line and would also be surrounded with a seriously talented offense. 

If the two sides are able to work out a deal, we could very well see Vick in a Chiefs uniform and Smith in an Eagles uniform next Fall. 



Dennis Dixon

Ah, yes, an Oregon reunion. Now that the Super Bowl has passed, it is said that Kelly is eying his former quarterback from Oregon. If that’s the case then Dixon could very well find himself in a starting role for Philadelphia next year. 

The Oregon product hasn’t had much success since coming into the NFL; he appeared in a few games for the Steelers in place of Ben Roethlisberger before tearing his meniscus, but has seldom seen the field since. Dixon’s best years were under Kelly’s tutelage at Oregon, and he was even a Heisman favorite at one point before tearing his ACL. 

Although Dixon has a history of being injured, he would be a cheap pickup and may be worth the risk. After all—if it works out, you were right; and if it doesn’t, you were wrong.

If Kelly were to bring in Dixon to compete for the starting role then Dixon would have as good a chance as anyone to win the starting job. He is extremely familiar with the type of offense that will be run and is still only 28 years old. 

While Dixon’s NFL career has gotten off to a slow start, he may find success in an Eagles uniform. 


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