Matt Barkley seems like an odd choice for the Eagles at quarterback because he does not fit the same athletic mold that head coach Chip Kelly looked for at Oregon. Kelly defended the organization’s decision to draft Barkley to the media by heaping praise on him and explained what he is looking for in his quarterbacks at the NFL level.
“In this league, you got to be able to throw the football. That’s the first skill set we’re looking for. Repetitive accuracy is the number one quality we’re looking for in a quarterback,” he said. Kelly went on to reveal that the Eagles had Barkley rated as one of the top 50 prospects in the draft. General manager Howie Roseman reportedly liked Barkley a lot last year, but Barkley decided to return for his senior season. Ultimately, he proved too enticing to pass up on day three of the draft.
Interestingly enough, Chip Kelly proved that he is comfortable running an offensive system around a traditional pocket passer. He has said that he would tailor his scheme to his players’ abilities instead of copying the Oregon offense, but Barkley is not a player he inherited from the Andy Reid regime. Kelly handpicked him.
The Barkley pick has potentially major implications for the other quarterbacks on the Eagles’ roster.
Michael Vick can no longer be considered the starter by default due to his unique athletic ability. He will have to beat out both Matt Barkley and Nick Foles in a training camp competition, although he remains the favorite to win the job.
Nick Foles finds himself in a tough position. On one hand, Kelly’s willingness to overlook a lack of athleticism should help him. However, if the Eagles thought highly of him, they would not have traded up to land another immobile passer. The Eagles are saying that they would embrace a slower franchise quarterback, but they don’t believe Foles will develop into that player.
Dennis Dixon now has an uphill climb to make the roster. Sitting behind Vick, Foles, and Barkley on the depth chart, he will only make the team if the Eagles decide to trade one of the three potential starters.
Chip Kelly insists that he will hold an open competition, but he already has firm impressions of all the quarterbacks on the roster. Expect Michael Vick to open the season as the starter with Matt Barkley as the number two. Foles will either stick as the third stringer or the Eagles will try to deal him for a mid-round draft pick.