Matt Barkley Is Not What Philadelphia Eagles Need in Franchise Quarterback
The third day of the 2013 NFL draft started with a bang Saturday as the Philadelphia Eagles traded up to draft Matt Barkley with the No. 98 pick. Despite the solid value, this is not a good fit for the organization.
Since Chip Kelly was hired as the new head coach, he has been working to install a version of the spread offense that worked out so well for him at Oregon. Running back LeSean McCoy said it was "like a freaking track meet" (via Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer).
How many games will Matt Barkley start in 2013
While a mobile quarterback is not necessarily needed for this style of offense to be successful, it certainly helps. At the very least, someone who can move around and make quick decisions in an open field is vital.
On the current roster, there are two quarterbacks that could be considered "mobile." Michael Vick has lost a step since earlier in his career, but he is still a threat with his legs and totaled 332 yards on the ground last season. In the two seasons prior, he combined for an impressive 1,265 rushing yards.
In addition, the team signed former Oregon quarterback Dennis Dixon, who has had minimal success as a backup for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Still, he is familiar with Kelly and his offense and should easily be able to step in if needed.
Rookie quarterback Nick Foles showed some potential last season after being drafted in the third round of the 2012 draft, but he is more of a drop-back passer.
It would not have been surprising if the team looked to add a new, young quarterback that fits the system. Barkley is not that player.
In his career at USC, the quarterback played exclusively in a pass-heavy, pro-style offense. He had time to drop back and find his talented receivers on the outside.
He virtually never left the pocket and has not shown an ability to beat anyone with his legs.
However, playing in this type of offense does not just mean that a quarterback has to run. It also means that throws have to come out in a hurry because there will be fewer blockers in for protection.
While Barkley has good accuracy overall, he has not proven the ability to be a good decision-maker in his college career. In 2012, he totaled 15 interceptions in 11 games, including six contests with multiple picks.
These turnovers were a big reason that USC struggled down the stretch and Barkley lost three of his last four as a starter.
Last season, the Eagles also struggled with holding onto the ball and led the league with 37 turnovers. It does not make sense to bring in someone who will not fix the biggest issue with the offense.
By grabbing a player in the fourth round of the draft that some analysts projected as a first-round talent, Philadelphia should be happy about the value. It is certainly better than if he was taken in either of the first two days.
Unfortunately, he is a poor fit in this offense and is unlikely to ever become the franchise quarterback for the Eagles.
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