The Philadelphia Eagles were favorites to win the NFC when Carson Wentz was the starting quarterback, then underdogs in each of their three playoff games under backup QB Nick Foles, and now Foles and the Eagles can forever call themselves Super Bowl champions. Foles’ incredible career turnaround saw him play phenomenal football in wins over the Minnesota Vikings and the New England Patriots, deservedly earning MVP honors last Sunday.
Foles became just the second quarterback who was drafted in the 2010s to start and win a Super Bowl. Any guesses as to who the first one was? Lemme help you.
The common theme for Wilson and Foles is that they were both chosen in the third-round of the 2012 NFL Draft. Wilson was pick #75, with Foles taken off the board at #88.
Heading into that year’s draft, all eyes were fixated on Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, as well as Ryan Tannehill. Luck was billed as the next John Elway, and the Indianapolis Colts found themselves an immediate successor after letting go of Peyton Manning. RG3 was a Heisman Trophy winner who produced outstanding passing and rushing numbers in his senior year at Baylor, and the Washington Redskins traded up to get him. Ryan Tannehill was a wide receiver at Texas A&M before converting to QB, raising his stock all the way towards becoming a top-10 pick for the quarterback-starved Miami Dolphins.
Rounding out the first-round QB choices was Brandon Weeden, who went to the Cleveland Browns and predictably failed. Who knew that drafting a college player who was an AARP member would turn out to be a bad idea?
Fast forward to present day, and the script certainly hasn’t gone according to plan. Luck, RG3, Tannehill, and Weeden combined to throw zero passes in the 2017 season. Unfortunately for Luck, the only first-rounder with playoff wins to his name (3), his career may be in jeopardy due to his injured right shoulder. RG3 is out of the league, Ryan Tannehill tore his ACL before the season started, and Weeden was last seen on the Tennessee Titans roster.
Russell Wilson is clearly the most successful QB out of the 2012 class. Originally set to be the backup to Matt Flynn, he quickly usurped Flynn, has never missed a start, and has led the team to two Super Bowl appearances, one championship, and probably could’ve won Super Bowl 48 MVP honors if the defense and special teams hadn’t scored touchdowns to keep Seattle’s offense off the field. Wilson is on pace for a Hall of Fame career, and surely there will come a point where he’ll win an Offensive Player of the Year or MVP award. I think we as Seahawks fans know the whole story about “too short to make it in the NFL” and “he’s just a game manager” so I won’t rehash it.
Foles’ story is quite different, yet no less fascinating. He played a handful of games as a rookie, helped guide the Eagles from a 3-5 start to an NFC East title in 2013, behind an absurd 27-2 TD-INT ratio, dropped to painfully mediocre levels in 2014-2015, had one start with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2016, then returned to Philadelphia in 2017. What lies ahead next for Foles is possibly a high-profile starting gig elsewhere, as his value has never been higher. Foles was on the brink of retirement and is now a Super Bowl champion.
I should mention that second-round pick Brock Osweiler also has a Super Bowl ring. He started seven regular season games in place of the injured and poorly-performing Peyton Manning, but Manning started from week 17 through Super Bowl 50, so I’m not on board with lumping Osweiler in with Wilson and Foles. Still, it’s pretty incredible that the three quarterbacks from 2012 who at least have a Super Bowl ring were the first three taken outside of round 1.