PHILADELPHIA – Russell Wilson would be playing for the Philadelphia Eagles if Andy Reid got his man in 2012.
Reid planned to select Wilson in the third round of the NFL draft that year, but Seahawks general manager John Schneider beat him to it. The Eagles settled for Nick Foles 13 picks later. They went 4-12 and Reid got fired after winning more games than any coach in franchise history during his 14-year tenure.
Wilson turned out to be more than either team could’ve expected. He has started every game since arriving in Seattle, led the Seahawks to a Super Bowl victory in his sophomore year, and is 52-20-1.
“I know that Andy called us right after the pick, and gave John some trouble about it,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said this week. “They’re old friends. But we were really sweating it out. We wanted him the whole way, and John had it figured obviously perfectly for us to get it done. 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, Philadelphia could’ve drafted Wilson with either of its two picks in the second round. The Eagles chose linebacker Mychal Kendricks (46th) and defensive end Vinny Curry (59th). They took defensive tackle Fletcher Cox in the first round. Wilson lasted until pick No. 75.
The Eagles (5-4) get another look at Wilson on Sunday when they visit the Seahawks (6-2-1). They finally have their own franchise quarterback, too.
While Wilson became an elite player in Seattle, the Eagles went through Foles, Michael Vick, Mark Sanchez and Sam Bradford before landing Carson Wentz with the No. 2 overall pick this year.
Wentz has been an impressive rookie, but he has a long way to go to reach Wilson’s level.
“I’ve got a lot of respect for him and looking forward to going up against him,” Wentz said. “I’ve always been a big fan of his, since I was younger. He was an N.C. State guy and I was an N.C. State fan as a kid, so watched him, followed him for a while, been a big fan of his.”
The respect is mutual.
“He’s going to be a great football player for a long time,” Wilson said of Wentz. “He’s athletic, he can make all the throws, he’s a smart guy, he’s competitive.”
Wilson and the Seahawks are tough to beat. They’re 31-5 in Seattle with Wilson. Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz understands he has a tough task devising another winning game plan. The Eagles shut down Matt Ryan and the high-powered Falcons last Sunday. They also held Ben Roethlisberger and the dynamic Steelers to only a field goal in Week 3.
“One of the reasons (Wilson) has been successful through his career is that he’s not a one-trick pony,” Schwartz said. “You see it with some quarterbacks. They come in and have a little bit of success, and then defensive coaches around the league sort of figure out a book on them, and they take away those strengths and make them play to their weakness, and a lot of guys’ effectiveness starts to wane. But not him. People have had a long time to try to figure him out, and nobody really has, and it’s because he’s a good player.”
As for Reid and Foles, they’re together in Kansas City. Reid is 38-19 in four seasons with the Chiefs. Foles went to Kansas City this season to back up Alex Smith and has won his only start.
Notes: The Eagles gave long snapper Jon Dorenbos a three-year contract extension on Friday, a day after giving a three-year extension to special teams star Chris Maragos. … WR Jordan Matthews (back) and TE Zach Ertz (hamstring) are questionable for Sunday. Both practiced Friday.
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