The Eagles traded up to the first pick of the fourth round to ensure that they ended Matt Barkley’s unforeseen draft day slide. General manager Howie Roseman has always been a fan of Barkley as a prospect and Chip Kelly admired his competitiveness as an opponent. The Eagles stamped Barkley as a top-50 prospect in the incoming draft class, and although he does not fit the offense that Chip Kelly used at Oregon, the Eagles still believe he has a long-term future in Philadelphia.
Overrated accuracy. Fans assume that since he’s a traditional pocket passer with great intangibles, he must be accurate, but that’s not the case. Tends to miss high, especially on quick, outside throws. Ball placement is inconsistent. Will throw low over the middle. Excellent touch on fade routes and corner throws. When feet are set, almost always delivers a catch-able ball. Accuracy not a strong suit, but it is good enough to succeed in the NFL.
Underrated arm. Long throws do not appear natural, as he looks to be heaving the ball. However, he completes a solid percentage of long balls. Above average touch and accuracy on deep throws. Passes can travel over 40 yards in the air with accuracy. Balls will occasionally sail on him, as he likes to get a lot of air under deep passes. Makes 10-15 yard sideline throws with ease and crispness. Good zip on his passes. Can thread the ball in tight windows. Will make every throw. Arm strength is definitely good enough to succeed in NFL, although it is by no means elite.
Makes quick decisions. Decisive. Trusts his receivers, and knows when his guy has the advantage in a one-on-one situation. Suffers from the occasional head-scratching throw, usually against zone coverage. Very confident, but can get into trouble by forcing the ball into impossibly tight windows. Absolutely hates to take sacks, and must learn to protect the ball and get down when defenders are hanging on him. Can throw screen passes blindly. Has a few lapses in judgment, but usually identifies the open man or the best match-up correctly and quickly. Loves to pick on defense’s weak link and will go for kill shots when he smells blood. Too many mis-communications with his receivers. Overall, appears to process the game quickly and makes the right decision more often than not. Room for improvement, though.
Excellent command of the pocket and huddle. Feels the rush well and understands when to buy time with his legs. Will take the big hit and deliver a strike. Bothered by pressure up the middle, of which he had plenty at USC. Throws off his back foot too often, although he does so with shocking accuracy. Good escape ability in the pocket despite limited athleticism. Makes plays on 4th down. Understands how much velocity to put on throws. Plays with a wide base, making him seem shorter than he is (6’2″). Very experienced and not rattled by big situations. Biggest negative is dealing with interior pressure and throwing off back foot.
Average height and bulk at 6’2″, 227 and below average speed. Not a threat to run, and doesn’t have a cannon for an arm. Despite lack of straight line speed, Barkley is effective on bootlegs, can elude rushers, and buy time with his legs. Lighter on his feet than Nick Foles, but cannot run read-option.
Other (durability, character, etc.)
Everybody raves about intangibles, intelligence, and leadership. 4-year started in high school and at USC. First-ever Trojan to be named team captain as a sophomore. Appears to be a starting QB from the neck up. Injury history is slightly worrisome. Suffered a season-ending separated shoulder in 2012. Has undergone wrist surgery earlier in career. Expects to be a full go in all Eagles activities.
Fit in Eagles system
Before the draft, nobody would have considered him a fit. Now, everybody must reevaluate what to expect out of Chip Kelly. On the record, the only attribute Kelly looks for in a quarterback is the ability to score TDs. Fit is a major mystery to this point. Will be a part of the QB competition, and has a legitimate shot at starting a regular season game in 2013.
Barkley was a major steal in the fourth round for a team that has not found a franchise quarterback. Barkley has only average arm talent and must clean up some technical and decision-making aspects of his game, but he could very well develop into a legitimate starting QB. He’s a battle-tested leader with a great understanding of the game, and that gives him a shot at success. I’m not a Nick Foles believer, and Barkley should prove to be the superior player in camp. Foles processes the defense sluggishly and plays far too conservatively, so Barkley could wind up being Michael Vick’s successor. Absolutely love the pick.