Eagles Wanted Russell Wilson, Settled for Nick Foles

Getty Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll talks with quarterback Russell Wilson.

It’s a story that has been told and retold many times. The year was 2012 and the Eagles needed a quarterback.

Andy Reid was coaching Philadelphia and wanted to draft a young kid from Wisconsin named Russell Wilson. Big Red was infatuated by Wilson’s accuracy and mobility despite the constant knocks on his small stature. He was laser-focused on taking him in the third round, at pick No. 88.

Obviously, it wasn’t meant to be. Wilson wasn’t on the board when the Eagles were on the clock after the Seahawks took Wilson 13 picks prior at No. 75.

The fortuitous twist of fate forced Reid to select Nick Foles with the Eagles’ third-round pick. So maybe it was meant to be in the end. Foles wound up delivering the franchise their first-ever Super Bowl championship.

Doug Pederson was on Reid’s coaching staff in 2012 serving as quarterbacks coach, so he was very involved in Wilson’s evaluation process. He also had heavy input in deciding to draft Carson Wentz in 2016. The coach saw similarities in both quarterbacks, guys he termed “leaders of men.”

“I think number one, they’re both proven winners in college and really all the way down into high school,” Pederson said. “Proven winners, they’re great leaders, leaders of men. They’re tough physically when they play the position.”

While Pederson admitted Wilson is clearly the quicker of the two quarterbacks, he noticed the same kind of athleticism in them.

“They’re not afraid to extend plays with their legs. Both of them have big arms, powerful arms, have great vision,” Pederson said. “I would probably give Russell the nod as far as the speed and all of that, but they’re both elusive enough to extend plays.”


How Close Did Eagles Come to Drafting Russell Wilson?

Andy Reid had his heart set on Russell Wilson in 2012. He thought the mobile quarterback could turn the Eagles around as they transitioned from Donovan McNabb and Michael Vick.

When Seattle took him ahead of Philadelphia, it didn’t sit well with Reid. He even called Seahawks GM John Schneider to complain.

“I know that Andy called us right after the pick, and gave John some trouble about it,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said in 2016. “There were a couple other teams that called in right after that, too. Andy was the first guy to call, though. He was just giving John a hard time for taking his guy.”

Of course, the Eagles could have selected Wilson prior to the third round. They had picks available at No. 59 and No. 46 but chose to take defensive end Vinny Curry and linebacker Mychal Kendricks in those spots. The Eagles took Fletcher Cox with their first-round pick and Wilson went No. 75 overall to Seattle. It’s another case of hindsight being 20-20.


Pete Carroll Pays Compliment to Carson Wentz

History has a funny way of working out, right? The Eagles won a Super Bowl with Nick Foles and the Seahawks got one with Russell Wilson. Now it’s time for Carson Wentz to join the Lombardi Club.

Wentz certainly has the talent to get it done. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll couldn’t stop gushing about the Eagles quarterback.

“I think he’s an amazing player. I love his competitiveness, his playmaking ability,” Carroll told reporters, via USA Today. “You see his power and strength. He doesn’t get knocked down easily. He can get out of problems. He causes the second play to happen with his scrambles. Eyes are down the field. He runs well when he needs to. I just think he’s a fantastic player.”

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