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Judgements: Barkley in Philly means Vick's days are numbered

by | Senior NFL Columnist
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NEW YORK -- Here we go again.

Quarterback controversies are as much a part of Philadelphia as the Liberty Bell, Rocky and cheese steaks, so the Philadelphia Eagles just gave the people what they want ... which is more uncertainty at the position.

Only there is a certainty, and it's this: With the addition of Matt Barkley, the Eagles just found their successor to Michael Vick.

It may be now. It may be later. But it's going to happen, and it's going to happen for the right reason: Coach Chip Kelly can't win with a quarterback who commits the mistakes Vick does. Over the last three years, the guy fumbled 32 times, or more than any quarterback but one.

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Mark Sanchez.

That should tell you something about Vick's job security. The Jets drafted Geno Smith to replace Sanchez, and the Eagles chose Barkley to replace Vick. I assume Vick starts the season and that someone -- Barkley, Dennis Dixon, anyone but Nick Foles -- steps in before or near the end of the season. Vick essentially is working on a one-year deal worth up to $10 million, but he has no future beyond this year.

Barkley does. Kelly coached against the guy in college and knows first-hand what Barkley offers. In his last two games vs. Oregon (he was 1-1), for instance, Barkley was 61 of 88, with 807 yards, 9 touchdowns, three interceptions and a passer rating of 117.9. Trust me, Kelly was paying attention.

Barkley was the most ready quarterback in this draft to step into a pro huddle. He started four years in college. He started four years in high school. He is this year's version of Andy Dalton, and that worked out OK for Cincinnati.

"There's a quality about Matt you always liked," Kelly told the NFL Network. "He's an unbelievable competitor. We're looking for a quarterback who can get us into the end zone and help us score points, and Matt can do that."

Kelly promised "wide-open competition" for the quarterback position, which is another way of saying the clock is ticking on Vick's career with the Eagles. Anyway, the bottom line is that Philadelphia had to find a quarterback in this draft ... and it did.

2. I know some people thought Philadelphia jumped Kansas City to Barkley because the Eagles believed Andy Reid would take him, but, sorry, that's hard to believe. The Chiefs just committed to a 28-year-old quarterback, and what you absolutely, positively must not do is threaten him by drafting a potential starter. Alex Smith's been down that road ... which is why he's with the Chiefs.

3. Say goodnight to Foles. He was drafted by another head coach for another system. He had a future with Andy Reid. He has none with Chip Kelly, and Barkley makes that clear. You don't trade up to draft a quarterback if you have a conviction about someone drafted the year before.

4. Barkley must have been there when Aaron Rodgers predicted he'd make teams that passed him in the 2005 draft regret that decision. "I'm going to remember this weekend for a long time," Barkley tweeted, "and so are the teams that didn’t draft me." Now that's what's I call upping the bar.

5. With the addition of inside linebacker Arthur Brown, the Baltimore Ravens can do what they must -- namely, get rid of Rolando McClain. The guy can't stay out of trouble -- at least in his hometown of Decatur -- and enough already. Lose him. The Ravens will have trouble defending their Super Bowl title, but having a distraction ... or a disruption ... like McClain around only makes it more difficult. So cut your losses, guys.

6. I don't know if the Ravens just got better with their blocking, but I do know they got smarter. Their 130th pick was fullback Kyle Juszczyk ... pronounced Juszczyk ... from Harvard.

7. Looks like the Pittsburgh Steelers are committed to protecting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger with the run, which is what offensive coordinator Todd Haley had in mind when he joined the club. With the additions of LaRod Stephens-Howling and rookie Le'Veon Bell, the Steelers' roster suddenly is crowded with running backs ... and that could reduce the hits on Roethlisberger.

8. I don't care who starts at quarterback for the Jets. Whoever it is doesn't have what he'll need to make it -- namely, playmakers. Santonio Holmes? He's coming off a Lisfranc injury. Stephen Hill? He's a project. Chris Ivory? Please. Until or unless the Jets upgrade their backs and receivers it doesn't matter who quarterbacks this team. He's doomed.

9. Sorry, but I don't get the Giants taking Ryan Nassib. I don't care where they had him ranked. They have too many holes to fill to spend a fourth-round pick on a backup quarterback. Not when you have a starter who hasn't missed a game, and not when you have David Carr as his backup.

10. The more I listen to Stanford's David Shaw the more I'm convinced he's on the fast track to the NFL. Talk about a class guy. He should be on everyone's short list. One problem: How do you talk him into leaving Palo Alto?

11. One of the knocks on Geno Smith was that he's not a "cold-weather quarterback." So here's the question: What convinced the Jets that he can be the passer he was not when he and the Mountaineers were buried at Yankee Stadium in December?

12. Another question: What do we know about Mark Sanchez? He fumbles. What do we know about Geno Smith? He fumbles. Tell me why this move is a step forward. Because it's not Mark Sanchez? I need more than that.

13. San Francisco could afford to gamble on South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore. First, of all, the 49ers have been down this road with Frank Gore, who overcame two knee injuries. Second, they had a zillion picks and don't need Lattimore to play immediately. Both they ... and he ... can take their time. Lattimore had first-round ability but got knocked down because of injuries. Big deal. The 49ers can sit him, let him take time with his recovery and plug him in when he's ready. That's what happens when you have a glut of draft picks.

14. Shortly after winning the Super Bowl, Ravens' general manager Ozzie Newsome said his priority was rebuilding the middle of a defense that's been shredded by the losses of Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Bernard Pollard and Dannell Ellerbe. Well, he succeeded, drafting safety Matt Elam with his first pick and linebacker Arthur Brown with the second. Add them to a lineup that includes free-agent additions Michael Huff, Chris Canty, Marcus Spears, and you have a vastly different Ravens' defense ... and that's good. It needs to improve. The club last year ranked 17th in yards allowed, its lowest ranking since 2002.

15. The third day of the draft is where you make your team, and here's the evidence: All five clubs that entered Saturday with seven or more choices were playoff teams in 2012. Six of the seven clubs with three or fewer were not.

16. Memo to Josh Freeman: Don't look in the rear-view mirror. You might not like what you see ... or hear. Yep, that was Tampa Bay GM Mark Dominik who said Mike Glennon, the team's third-round choice, has the "talent and ability to grow." Translation: He's our fallback if you screw up, Josh.

17. Jacksonville's Denard Robinson is so versatile that he was introduced in Radio City Music Hall as a ... running back? "If that's where they want me to play," said Robinson, "that's where I'll play." I don't know, something tells me Maurice Jones-Drew has first choice.

18. The more I watch Cleveland GM Mike Lombardi operate the more I understand why he and Bill Belichick get along. Both can't sit still in the draft, with Lombardi making so many moves in his first year on the job he had only two picks in the first five rounds.

19. Maybe it's time to pay attention to Arizona. Reason: The Cardinals had a terrific draft with new GM Steve Keim. He gets the best guard in the draft in Jonathan Cooper; a future starter in inside linebacker Kevin Minter; a potential steal in defensive back Tyrann Mathieu; a standup linebacker in Alex Okafor and promising tailbacks in Stepfan Taylor and Andre Ellington. Then he gambles on Texas A&M burner Ryan Swope, who was off some boards because of concussions but who's worth the risk in the sixth round. The Cards haven't been able to run for years, but with the additions of Cooper, Taylor and Ellington they might now.

20. It was another good day for Aaron Rodgers. With the additions of Eddie Lacy and UCLA back Johnathan Franklin, the Packers take some of the heat off their quarterback and finally, finally, finally, have the ability to be balanced. They ranked 20th in rushing a year ago, didn't have anyone run for over 464 yards and look where it got them. Change was needed, and change was made.

Five things I like

1. Pittsburgh's choice of Landry Jones. Absolutely perfect. He doesn't go to a team that must develop him quickly. He goes somewhere he can sit and try to regain the form that made him such a dynamic prospect two years ago. I love Jones, but he fell off the past two seasons. Now, he'll have an opportunity to sit and learn, which is what he needs.

2. The Ivy League's presence in the fourth round. Harvard and Cornell had players selected before anyone from Michigan, Nebraska and the University of Miami. Honest. Imagine, playing football and getting an education at the same time. What a concept.

3. Barrett Jones in St. Louis. Jones was one of the top centers in the draft and had no business lasting to the fourth round. So who finds him? The Rams, who pick up a solid pass blocker who's versatile and smart. Yep, it was a good draft for Sam Bradford. Granted, there are durability questions about Jones, but the Rams risked nothing by spending a fourth-round pick on him.

4. Tyrann Mathieu going to a team with Patrick Peterson. Peterson was his former teammate at LSU, is a good friend and can be an invaluable mentor. If Mathieu has a chance it will be with someone that can take care of him, and, with Peterson on board, the Cards might be that someone.

5. LSU's defense. It had six players taken in the first three rounds, the most by any school in a draft.

Five things I don't

1. Marty Mornhinweg's predicament. Last season he was the offensive coordinator caught in the crossfire in Philadelphia. So he moves to the Jets, and guess what? The hits keep on coming. Mornhinweg's in the middle of a media crush that will turn the Sanchez-Smith competition into a daily scoreboard, and here's hoping Mornhinweg is patient. He just took on Mission: Impossible, trying to prop up his quarterbacks with an astonishing lack of playmakers. Good luck, Marty. You'll need it.

2. Chris Kluwe's future. The Vikings used a fifth-round pick on UCLA punter Jeff Locke, and you don't take a punter there ... or you don't draft a punter, period ... unless you plan to play him. The Vikings haven't been enamored with Kluwe and talked about replacing him. Now they have someone to do it.

3. San Diego's failure to get more protection for Phillip Rivers. Yes, the Chargers plugged the right side of their offensive line with mauler D.J. Fluker, but then it forgot that it has three more holes to fill. In fact, the Bolts used their seventh-round pick on ... a quarterback ? Wow. Get a clue, guys: Rivers IS the franchise, and if you can't keep him from getting hit you're going to the mat again.

4. Rex Ryan admitting he hasn't contacted Sanchez. You've got to be kidding. Ryan said Sanchez will get the first snaps at mini-camp, but who's kidding whom? He's a dead man walking, and Ryan's admission that he hasn't talked to him since the Jets drafted Smith is the proof.

5. The Cowboys' failure to get more protection for Tony Romo. Dallas has a ton of money invested in Romo, but it doesn't have an offensive line ... or a running game ... to protect that investment. They traded down in the first round to choose center Travis Frederick, a guy they could've gotten in the second round ... or third, and didn't find a right tackle, period, in all seven rounds.

Just asking but ...

  How soon before the Jets butt-fumble Tim Tebow?

  Was RG3 cleared to do those jumping jacks at Washington's draft party?

  With the Branden Albert deal on the rocks, what does Miami do for a left tackle?

  Is Zac Stacy the answer to Steven Jackson in St. Louis?

  Does Jeff Demps ever take a snap in the NFL?

Numbers that may mean something

2 -- Straight seasons the Colts have Mr. Irrelevant

3 -- Ivy Leaguers chosen, including two in the fourth round

4 -- Quarterbacks taken in the fourth round

6 -- Quarterbacks on the Jets' roster

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