Matt Barkley Is A Philadelphia Eagle; Let’s Give This A Shot


It’s not Geno Smith, Ryan Nassib, or E.J. Manuel. He isn’t a scrambling quarterback, or even close to one for that matter. But it’s Matt Barkley who Chip Kelly and the Eagles selected with the first pick in round four of today’s NFL Draft. It’s Matt Barkley that the Eagles traded up to pick. And it’s Matt Barkley that is likely Chip Kelly and the Eagles long-term quarterback.

I have to say when the Eagles traded up, to obtain the first pick in the fourth round, I was expecting them to take a quarterback, but it certainly was not Matt Barkley. In my mind it was all but a lock, that Ryan Nassib was going to be the name called. Then ESPN brought Adam Schefter on, and I muted it, because I wanted to wait to hear the pick officially announced live, rather than hearing it from Adam Schefter. And anyway I was sure it was going to be Nassib. And then about three minutes later, the words “With the 98th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Philadelphia Eagles select Matt Barkley, USC,” were uttered and my brain exploded. I didn’t even know how to react, because the pick blew my mind. All along I figured the Eagles would grab one of the three quarterbacks in this draft that had scrambling ability, and instead, Chip passed on all three, going with a more traditional pocket quarterback.

Even Barkley said, “It doesn’t come as a complete surprise, but it was a good wake-up call this morning.”

So apparently Chip isn’t going to be running a system similar to what he ran at Oregon, because long-term he wouldn’t have selected Barkley here if he didn’t plan on making him the team’s franchise quarterback.

We know that Barkley doesn’t have great arm strength, has had injury concerns, and had an extremely disappointing senior year, but believe it or not, he brings a lot more positives to the table. Barkley has been labeled a hard worker, is extremely accurate, has a quick release, and I have always admired that fact that he stayed at USC through all the sanctions, for whatever that is worth. Barkley also has good size at 6’2 and 230 lbs, and is still only 22 years-old.

The positives actually play well into what Chip Kelly wants.  Kelly wants bigger players, and while Barkley isn’t as big as Foles, he is certainly bigger than the 6’0, 215 lb Michael Vick. Regardless of whatever type of offense that Kelly ends up running, it still isn’t going to be a traditional offense. It will likely be a creative offense that features the read-option, and it will require a quarterback that is accurate and makes quick decisions. Barkley is more accurate than Foles, and makes quicker decisions than Vick, because in my opinion he has a better ability to read defenses. In any read option type offense, the quarterback also needs to have a relatively big body, and be able to get rid of the ball quick enough to avoid big hits. Foles has a bigger body than Barkley but doesn’t make decisions as quickly, and isn’t as accurate of a passer. Vick may be more of a rushing threat, but lacks the ability to make quick decisions and isn’t  going to get rid of the ball quick enough to stay healthy by avoiding the big hits.

Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Barkley also brings a strong leadership quality. Look, I’m not acting like the Eagles just drafted Robert Griffin or Andrew Luck, but they did get a guy who would have been a top ten pick had he entered the draft last year, and is a much better quarterback than overly negative analysts and scouts have led fans to believe.

I have no idea at this point how Barkley fits into a Chip Kelly offense, and we may not know for a few years. But when the Eagles brought in Chip as their head coach, I said that I would almost have a blind faith for a year or two, that Chip knew what he was doing and give him space to bring his guys in, without being overly-critical. And that is what I am doing here. The pick shocked me and all of Philadelphia, and all of the NFL landscape for that matter. And I don’t know if it will work, but Chip appears to think it will, and I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. I’m excited for this pick, and Chip has me and most of Philadelphia more excited for an NFL season that Andy Reid had since 2005.