Philadelphia News, Weather and Sports from WTXF FOX 29Home

National Football League
PRESEASON
12345
REGULAR SEASON
12345
678910
1112131415
1617   
PLAYOFFS
123PBSB

Extra Points: Barkley arrives in Philly with 'Chip' on his shoulder

By John McMullen, NFL Editor

(Sports Network) - For the first time since Charles called Philadelphia home, the City of Brotherly Love has a high-profile Barkley in town.

Southern California quarterback Matt Barkley finally found his new home on Saturday, two days after he planned to file his change of address form.

The Eagles traded up to select Barkley with the top pick of the fourth round (98th overall), a steep fall for a player who was once projected as a possible No. 1 overall selection on the first day of the 2012 NFL Draft.

"I did not see it coming," Barkley said after being drafted by the Eagles. "I'm just excited to be an Eagle. I could not be more excited to be playing there for that city and that franchise."

Philadelphia traded their fourth and seventh round draft picks to Jacksonville to make the move up, a strange decision to some because new Eagles coach Chip Kelly is thought to be fond of mobile quarterbacks, who can excel in a read- option or spread offense.

Barkley is more of a traditional drop-back passer, far more comfortable in the pocket than on the move.

"We had Matt rated in the top 50 players in this draft," Kelly explained. "The fact that he was still there, we talked about all along that we were going to take value and there was no better value for us to open up today and we took Matt."

Kelly, of course, is very familiar with Barkley's strengths because he coached in college at Oregon, a fierce Pac-12 rival of Barkley's Trojans.

"I'm going to steal a quote from (former Cleveland Browns head coach) Sam Rutigliano and he used to say, '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.

"The first time I saw Matt Barkley, he was a true freshman and he came into Autzen Stadium which is one of the toughest places to play in the world and it didn't phase him a bit," the coach continued. "Matt Barkley was never a freshman, there was just a poise about him, there was a calm about him -- those intangible qualities that you really look for. It's tough to quantify. There's not a test for it."

Barkley was one of the top overall players in college football after the 2011 season in which he threw for 3,528 yards with 39 touchdowns. He led the Trojans to a 10-2 record, which included a shocking late-season win against Kelly's Ducks.

Barkley then shocked many by announcing he would return for his senior season after many draft analysts projected him as a sure first-rounder.

Entering this past season, Barkley was one of the favorites to win the Heisman Trophy and the Trojans were the trendy preseason pick to win the BCS national championship, but things derailed quickly. USC finished with a disappointing 7-6 record and to make matters worse, Barkley injured his shoulder in a late- season loss to UCLA.

The California native quickly dropped on many draft boards after being unable to participate in the NFL Scouting Combine in February. A perceived lack of arm strength, perhaps related to the injury, sent Barkley tumbling.

"From what our reports are, yeah, he did not have an operation, he just had a sprain," Kelly said when discussing Barkley's health. "It's just been a rehab process, but we've been assured that he'll be back to 100 percent. I don't know if he was 100 percent at his pro day, but when you evaluate him on film, he was 100 percent until he got hurt in the UCLA game."

Despite the mounting criticism, a lot of scouts still felt Barkley was the most NFL-ready quarterback throughout this draft process because anticipation and accuracy are a lot more important in today's NFL than being able to throw the ball 70 yards down the field.

In Philadelphia, Barkley will be competing with veteran Michael Vick as well as second-year signal caller Nick Foles and Dennis Dixon, an old Kelly acolyte from Eugene. Little known Tulsa product G.J. Kinne is also around. That's a lot of quarterbacks, meaning fewer repetitions in the offseason, a key for any young quarterback

"I think every team in football is going to go to camp with five guys," Kelly said. "I'm kind of confused when people keep saying that you have a lot of quarterbacks. I think everybody in the NFL goes to camp with five guys. Are we going to keep five during the season? Absolutely not."

To me, Barkley remains a far better prospect than the only quarterback taken in Thursday's first round -- Florida State's E.J. Manuel. The bigger question is whether Kelly plans on pounding the square peg in the round hole with Barkley or if he will adapt to the player's strengths.

"I don't even know exactly what direction we're moving in right now," Barkley said when asked if he could fit in with a Chip Kelly offense. "All I know is I'll be wearing an Eagles uniform and looking to help that team. From what I hear, it's not going to look exactly the same as it was at Oregon. The team is different, the personnel is different than what (Kelly) had last year.

"They have a pro-style coaching staff. If they stick to that, then I'll work in it, I'll be a part of that offense. It doesn't matter what we run, I'm going to give it my all."

The power structure in Philadelphia is far more vague these days with Andy Reid in Kansas City. General manager Howie Roseman controls the draft but it's hard to imagine an unproven commodity like Roseman taking a quarterback Kelly didn't want.

The more likely scenario is that Kelly isn't wed to the read-option but is married to an up-tempo style. When projecting Barkley with the Eagles think Tom Brady in New England not Colin Kaepernick and the Niners or RG3 and the 'Skins.

"I believe we have flexibility," Kelly said. "We had different quarterbacks when I was at Oregon and really, the key is playing to their strengths. But, everything we do, our quarterback has to be able to throw. To play at that level of college football that we were at and to be able to play in the NFL, you have to have a quarterback that is accurate and can deliver the football and protect it and not turn it over."

Barkley isn't worried about any of that right now, he's just happy to have his opportunity.

"I've stayed positive this whole time," Barkley said. "I haven't looked back. As I said before, just to have an opportunity. All it takes is one team. I'm blessed that the Eagles believe in me and are willing to give me a chance."

04/27 19:27:26 ET

Powered by The Sports Network.

Powered by WorldNow

WTXF-TV
330 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106-2796

Phone: (215) 925-2929
Fax: (215) 982-5494

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2012 WorldNow and WTXF. All Rights Reserved.