Matt Barkley: How Will Eagles Newest Quarterback Fare in the Pros?
With the first selection of the fourth round, the Eagles finally ended the free fall of USC quarterback Matt Barkley.
Barkley becomes the third quarterback selected by the Eagles within the first 100 picks of the draft since 2007, joining Kevin Kolb and Nick Foles.
So much for Chip Kelly bringing his college offense to the NFL. Barkley is the anti-Chip Kelly quarterback.
That said, Kelly could easily alter his offense to more of a traditional up-tempo West Coast offense to better suit Barkley's strengths.
Much has been made of Barkley's limited arm strength, but the issue has never been getting the ball downfield. What Barkley struggles with is deep ball accuracy.
In five games I charted of Barkley against the toughest defenses he faced, he completed just five of 25 pass attempts beyond 20 yards down the field. With Marqise Lee and Robert Woods at receiver, that's an unthinkably low percentage.
With that stat in mind, if the Eagles decide to build around Barkley, they will definitely have a fast-paced offense with an overwhelming percentage of quick slants and hitches.
Barkley will probably back up Michael Vick during his rookie year, so he won't be a viable fantasy option early in his career.
It will probably take Barkley at least a year to fully learn Chip Kelly's offense, so don't plan on drafting him unless you're in a deep dynasty league and can afford to stash him on your bench for at least one full season.
Vick is still expected to be the Eagles starter, and Barkley may have to beat out Nick Foles for the backup job during his rookie year.
But even if Barkley doesn't set foot on the field during his rookie year, it's safe to assume Kelly will give him an opportunity to at least compete for the starting job in 2014.
I gave Barkley a third-round grade and was fully prepared to criticize the team that drafted him within the top 50 picks. In the fourth round, however, Barkley is a steal.
The only question I have is: How does he fit into Kelly's plan?
Everyone expected Kelly to run some form of the read-option, but that wouldn't happen with Barkley under center. Perhaps Kelly's offense won't be quite as innovative as we all assumed.
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