The Detroit Lions certainly took an interesting road to get to their backup quarterback. A day after the Lions established their 53-man roster and it seemed like David Blough was the Lions’ No. 2 guy, the Lions released Blough early in the morning and signed Nate Sudfeld.
Sudfeld has been in the league since 2016. He was a sixth-round pick by the Commanders and he played for the 49ers in 2021, but he spent most of his career with the Philadelphia Eagles. Sudfeld was in Philly from 2017 to 2020, seeing the field in parts of four separate games. The majority of on-field time Sudfeld got with the Eagles was during the preseason.
It seemed for a moment that the Eagles were really sold on the possibilities with Sudfeld. In 2019 the Eagles put a second-round ERFA tender on Sudfeld to essentially make sure that there was no chance they could lose him. Two years later, he was gone.
To get a closer outlook at Sudfeld the player and why his time in Philly was cut short, we reached out to our pal Brandon Lee Gowton of Bleeding Green Nation. Here’s what he had to say.
At one point it seemed like Sudfeld might be on track for big things with the Eagles. The team even put a second round RFA tender on him. What did they see?
“The Eagles originally signed Sudfeld to their practice squad immediately ahead of the 2017 season. Adding him to the team gave them a third quarterback behind Carson Wentz and Nick Foles. He remained on the practice squad until the Colts tried to poach him in early November. Sudfeld was then elevated to QB2 after Wentz suffered a season-ending ACL injury. There was talk about potentially pivoting to him when Foles was struggling late in the regular season … but obviously that never happened.
“Sudfeld DID play in the Eagles’ meaningless season finale against the Cowboys that year. He completed 19 of his 23 attempts (82.6%!) for 134 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT, and a 90.9 passer rating. He also broke a nice run for 22 yards. Given that he was playing with second- and third-stringers in his first extended regular season action, he looked pretty decent given the circumstances.
“Sudfeld spent his first offseason with the Eagles in 2018. He showed some potential in practice settings. He was probably at his best during red zone drills, looking accurate and decisive. He also flashed deep ball ability.
“But with Wentz and Foles returning, Sudfeld was still QB3. It wasn’t until Foles left in 2019 that Sudfeld had the opportunity to move up to QB2.
“Sudfeld failed to put a stranglehold on the job by getting hurt in the preseason opener. The Eagles signed Josh McCown to be Wentz’s primary backup.
“The Eagles re-signed Sudfeld ahead of the 2020 season but his shot at the QB2 job went out the window with the team using a second-round pick (No. 53 overall) on Jalen Hurts.
“If Sudfeld was truly a stud (read: Studfeld), he could’ve staved off his competition. But he never convinced the Eagles he was anything special and thus got passed over.”
What made Sudfeld fall out of favor?
“Sudfeld became the poster boy for tanking when the Eagles pulled Hurts during their 2020 season finale. With the Eagles only down three points early in the fourth quarter, they replaced their rookie quarterback with Sudfeld. He came in and threw an interception on his second passing attempt. Then he fumbled for a Washington recovery on the second play of his next drive.
“Tanking that game was actually quite beneficial for the Eagles in the long run. So, fans should be grateful to Sudfeld for that!
Is Sudfeld one of those guys that’s good for the QB room? Like a Kellen Moore or Dan Orlovsky?
“He’s great for a locker room in general. Not a rah-rah guy by any means but the sense I get is that he’s a chill dude whom everyone likes. He had connections with Eagles players that one might not expect him to have (such as with defenders, not just his fellow offensive teammates). I think Sudfeld understands he has a role to fill.”
Can he ever be more than that?
“I could buy Sudfeld being a quality QB2. A guy a team could win with if he gets the right support around him. A guy who can give you a chance to go 2-2 if the starting quarterback misses a four-game stretch. I highly doubt he can be much more than that. “
From what you may have seen from Dan Campbell on “Hard Knocks,” is Sudfeld a Campbell type of guy?
“Unfortunately, I haven’t had the time to catch up on “Hard Knocks” quite yet. It’s been a real busy summer. Based on what I know about Campbell, though, I think it’s a fit from a culture standpoint. I don’t expect Sudfeld to match Campbell’s energy as much as I expect him to be good for team chemistry. Sudfeld also brings an underdog vibe with him to Detroit as a dude who’s been passed over a bit and got unfairly tied up in the Eagles’ (overblown) tanking fiasco.
“I always had a soft spot for Sudfeld. I hope he proves useful if he gets an opportunity to play for the Lions. (Outside of Week 1, of course.)”