Philadelphia Eagles Had to Give Matt Barkley a Shot

Brad Gagnon@Brad_Gagnon NFL National ColumnistApril 27, 2013

Feb 22, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Southern California quarterback Matt Barkley speaks at a press conference during the 2013 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

About 18 months ago, USC quarterback Matt Barkley was projected by many to be a top-10 pick in the 2012 NFL draft.

A lot changes in 18 months. Barkley stayed in school an extra year and had a trying final season at USC, hurting his stock enough to make him a Day 3 pick in the 2013 draft. 

The benefactors of that drop are the Philadelphia Eagles, who moved up three spots atop Round 4 to grab a polished quarterback who has extremely high potential at the NFL level. As the 98th overall selection, there's no risk of Barkley becoming a bust in Philadelphia, so the risk/reward factor was in Chip Kelly's favor here. 

Kelly stated in a press conference Saturday that the team had Barkley in its top 50, so this also represents tremendous value. 

Yes, the Eagles already have four pivots on the roster, but none are expected to be long-term options as franchise quarterbacks. When you're still left with uncertainty under center, adding quality arms is never a bad thing. Barkley might not be a stereotypical Kelly quarterback, but this means that Chip is willing to be flexible, which is also a good thing.

Expect Barkley to battle Nick Foles (who could be a trade candidate) and Dennis Dixon (who does possess the qualities Kelly is known to like in quarterbacks) for the backup job behind Michael Vick. Vick, though, is no sure thing to hold onto that starting spot long term, so the entire situation under center is fluid in Philly. 

You have to swing the bat when you don't have a franchise quarterback, so adding an accurate, pro-ready arm is something you can't knock the Eagles for doing, especially when no top picks were used to make said acquisition.

Even if Barkley doesn't emerge as an elite quarterback in this league, this is a good draft pick.