The evolution of Nate Sudfeld from 3rd-string to top backup QB feels complete


The Eagles quarterback looked and sounded like a player ready to step in for Carson Wentz if necessary

Nate Sudfeld looked ready; sounded ready, too.

Sudfeld had a near flawless practice on Wednesday at the Eagles' next-to-last OTA practice then, in the locker room afterward, talked about his evolution from a sixth-round draft pick of the Washington Redskins to the backup quarterback to Carson Wentz.

“What a whirlwind it was,” said Sudfeld. “My first year in the league, I was a 3 (third-string). You're inactive on game day, so you try to stay in it as much as you can but it's a different level when you dress, you’re No. 2, one play away.

“I've got a lot experience with that, with the Super Bowl run year (in 2017 backing up Nick Foles after Wentz got hurt late in the season). I think I backed up seven games with the playoffs and then I think eight or nine last year, so about a full season within the last two years. It's been to kind of get that experience.”

Nobody is hoping to find out if he is ready, because that would mean another injury would have befallen Wentz. It’s good to know, though, that the Eagles should seemingly be in good hands if Wentz gets hurt again during the 2019 season.

“There is no perfect formula for backing up because you just have to be ready,” said Sudfeld. “Nobody cares you got no reps with the ones all week - you have to go in and perform. It's about just working at your craft every day.

“One thing with Carson, I'm just trying to be in his ear and see how he likes to run the stuff. If something happens and I go in the game - hopefully, we're up by a lot is the case - I get to go in the fourth quarter and we get to say with the same game plan. Pick it up where he left off. It's a work in progress. It's not easy, but it's fun.”

Sudfeld has been the No. 3 quarterback since arriving in Philadelphia after he was cut by the Redskins after his rookie season. The Eagles added him to their practice squad then activated him in week nine of the 2017 season.

Now, though, he is the top backup after Nick Foles left for Jacksonville after two successful seasons in that role.

Cody Kessler, a veteran was brough into compete, but Sudfeld has left Kessler well behind in the race to be Wentz's backup. Rookie Clayton Thorson will likely be the third quarterback.

“I wouldn't say it's a much different feeling,” said Sudfeld about going from No. 3 to No. 2. “I feel like there's a lot of urgency on my part last year, this year. You're trying to earn it and prove it every snap. It is nice to be in Year 3 in the system.

“I feel like I understand a lot of the concepts, what coaches are asking of us. Knowing personnel - who is particularly good at what route and things like that. That stuff has been able to have everything slow down for me a lot. When it comes down to it, ultimately you're playing with 11 guys. You've got to find the guy who's open and get it to him. It's still a work in progress.

“Everybody just wants an opportunity to compete, to move up the ladder or whatever you want to call it. I'm just really excited. I feel like it's a great opportunity at hand. I feel very prepared for this opportunity. I'm just trying to put my best foot forward every day, show the coaches they can trust me and all that stuff. I'm really excited about the opportunity.”