NFL Draft: Barkley enters 'wide open' Eagles QB competition
Chip Kelly said drafting Matt Barkley was a no-brainer, given the 98th overall pick was prominent on Philadelphia's top-50 draft board. He has thrown open the QB competition with the Eagles, which might not sit well with Michael Vick.
The Philadelphia Eagles started the third day of the NFL Draft by trading up to select Matt Barkley as the first player in the fourth round. About eight hours later, as the draft came to a close, first-year Eagles coach Chip Kelly said he still hadn't received a call back or text message response from No. 1 quarterback Michael Vick.
Barkley was projected to be the fifth USC quarterback drafted in the first round, but every team passed on him multiple times in the first three rounds.
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"My mind-set has to be expected to be that starter Day 1 of the season," Barkley said. "… I'm going to remember this weekend for a long time, and so are the teams that didn't draft me."
Kelly said Saturday in the immediate aftermath of the Barkley pick that starting jobs have to be claimed, and that includes quarterback, which is a "wide open" competition. Barkley was a target of the Eagles since February.
"He came out of there, and we went, 'Wow,'" Kelly said of his interview with Barkley at the Scouting Combine.
Kelly said Barkley was ranked in the top 50 on the Eagles' draft board.
"I'm an Eagle!! Time to fly baby," Barkley wrote on Twitter.
General manager Howie Roseman and the Eagles jumped ahead of former Philadelphia head coach Andy Reid and the Chiefs, who held the 99th overall pick, to get Barkley. The Chiefs selected inside linebacker Nico Johnson.
Barkley was a four-year starter at Southern Cal. He missed the final two games and postseason with a shoulder injury and was molded in a pro-style offense.
His short-to-intermediate accuracy, leadership and experience were noted as strengths. Doubts about his downfield arm strength, size and a sharp increase in interceptions as a senior contributed to his dive in the draft.
Barkley becomes the fifth quarterback on the Eagles' roster. Philadelphia's high-speed spread offense of Kelly isn't necessarily considered the ideal fit for Barkley.
Kelly quoted former NFL coach Sam Rutigliano when discussing how he'll know when Barkley is ready.
"He used to say that with a quarterback, it’s like a tea bag; you don’t know what you have until you put it in hot water," Kelly said.
Vick, 33, enters the season with 103 career starts and is projected as the starter ahead of Nick Foles. Dennis Dixon, who played for Kelly at Oregon, signed in March and G.J. Kinne is listed fourth on the Eagles' depth chart. Kelly said he talked to Foles not long after the Barkley pick was announced. Foles started six games last season as Vick's injury replacement. As noted above, he tried to reach Vick, too.
Durability is the concern with Vick. He was hit more than any other quarterback -- including 28 sacks -- through seven starts. He didn't complete the Eagles' eighth game. In a new system, Vick promised to return to the running threat that made him a must-watch phenom early in his career with the Falcons.
Vick was already aware he'd be competing for playing time this summer. Kelly said last month they've discussed the process of determining the pecking order at the position. Communication is considered vital by Kelly and his coaching staff, and he said his door "will always be wide open." In fact, Kelly has even gone so far as to remove some doors in the team facility, rearranged the locker room to intermingle skill position players with defensive players and offensive linemen and regularly meet individually with players.
Kelly is familiar with Barkley as a Pac-12 foe and beat him three of their four meetings when Kelly was with the Ducks.
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