We kicked off the week here by looking at the uphill battle rookie fourth-round pick Matt Barkley would have to overcome to be a successful starter at quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles. The odds certainly aren't in Barkley's favor.
However, they weren't in Tom Brady's favor 13 years ago, and Brady's rise from pick No. 199 of the 2000 NFL draft to three-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback has since given fuel to anyone trying to argue that a mid or late-round pick could become a star.
That's what NFL.com's Bucky Brooks does with Barkley:
Matt Barkley could be the next Tom Brady and should be the Philadelphia Eagles' quarterback of the future.
Don't laugh. That statement is based on my belief that the Eagles' fourth-round selection steps into a perfect situation that sets him up for individual success, while giving a championship-starved franchise a young quarterback with the pedigree to carry Philly over the threshold. With veteran Michael Vick ahead of Barkley on the depth chart right now, it's a situation reminiscent of Brady playing behind Drew Bledsoe for a season in 2000 before emerging to take over the New England Patriots' offense in 2001.
A closer look at the dynamics of Philadelphia's new offensive philosophy, coaching staff and personnel leads me to believe that Barkley will not only outplay his counterparts early in his career, but he will guide the Eagles back to prominence.
Brooks has four specific reasons to back his argument up. First, he says Barkley has the high football IQ required for a quarterback to strive in Kelly's up-tempo offense; second, Barkley and offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur both have backgrounds in the West Coast system; third, Barkley has the weapons in place to excel right away; finally, Michael Vick's presence could give him a year to prepare.
It's tough to argue against any of those points. And while some wonder if Barkley has the athleticism and mobility to run Kelly's offense, let's keep in mind that Kelly has said repeatedly that he doesn't require a mobile quarterback (via CSNPhilly.com).
"In this league, you got to be able to throw the football," Kelly said last month, per the Philadelphia Inquirer. "That's the first skill set we're looking for. Repetitive accuracy is the No. 1 quality we're looking for in a quarterback."
Repetitive accuracy. That's where Barkley comes in. That's where you begin to understand why the Eagles traded into the top spot on Day 3 of the draft in order to lock up the USC product who doesn't have a cannon but rarely misses his target.
I'll take a smart quarterback with an accurate arm over an idiot with a rocket launcher every time.
Barkley had some issues in 2012, which is a big reason why it might be better for him to hold a clipboard for a while. But in the Pac-12 in 2011, the guy completed 69.1 percent of his passes and threw only seven interceptions on 446 attempts. That's an interception percentage of 1.6. Vick's pick rate that same season in Philly was 3.3.
Kelly saw a lot of Barkley in that conference the last few years. He knows exactly what he's getting, and there's little doubt we have a nice football match here. That doesn't mean Barkley will be the next Tom Brady or even the next Michael Vick, but it means the Eagles are giving themselves chances by investing in the right types of quarterbacks.