Matt Barkley might have been rated as a 2nd round player by multiple teams, but the bottom line is that he fell to the 4th round. He was pick #98. Nick Foles was taken in the 3rd round, 88th overall in the 2012 Draft. You would not know this based on the hype.
The question for Foles was if he could make a serious run at taking the backup job from Mike Kafka, who wasn’t exactly on the most solid ground in the world.
The question with Barkley is if he can somehow steal the starting job from Vick and Foles.
That is kinda crazy when you think about it.
Barkley isn’t your typical 4th round pick. The Eagles had a Top 50 grade on him. Dallas had him ranked 31st in the entire draft (must read if you haven’t already…Dallas draft board got leaked). Barkley was a huge star in high school. He was a USA Today HS All American. He played elite competition at Mater Dei and started all 4 years. Barkley started all 4 years at USC and set plenty of school and Pac-12 records. There was speculation that he could have been a Top 10 pick in 2012 if he had come out. He stayed for his Senior season and fell to the 4th round. Bad for him, good for us.
I went back and re-read some Iggles Blitz archives from last April, May, June and July. Foles wasn’t much of a subject. Vick and Kafka were the guys we talked about over and over. Could Vick bounce back? Could Kafka take a big step forward? 5 bonus points to anyone who knows the correct answers.
There were some reports that the Eagles were high on Foles, but that was about it. No hype. Little talk about him. There is an OTA clip from last year where Adam Caplan is talking about the battle for the backup QB job and he says that it is Kafka vs Trent Edwards and that’s it. Foles was a complete afterthought.
Foles ended up being a much better QB than we anticipated. The preseason games really brought out the best in him. Kafka got hurt. Foles stepped up and really showed good potential.
We haven’t seen nearly as much of Barkley in practice because Chip Kelly is more guarded with the media. We hear that Barkley has been up and down, but that is pretty normal for a rookie. We really don’t know much.
The one thing we do know for sure is that Barkley is going to do everything in his power to be the starting QB this year. QB coach Bill Lazor made a remark last week that Barkley was the first player in the building on a regular basis. Barkley said in a recent interview that he was putting in 14 hour days. He is locked in and going all out to do his part.
Many rookie QBs struggle with the transition to the NFL. Barkley played in a system that used some NFL passing concepts so that should help him adjust quicker. He played for a tough, demanding coach in Lane Kiffin (and a bit nuts). Barkley also has the right attitude. He doesn’t see Vick as his boyhood hero. He doesn’t see Foles as a former college opponent that has done well in the NFL. Barkley sees them as teammates and more importantly…competition.
I don’t know how Barkley will do physically, but watch this interview from PE.com and you have to come away impressed by how Barkley is handling the situation mentally and emotionally.
I’m hesitant to think Barkley can start as a rookie, but I certainly won’t be shocked if that is what happens. He’s not a typical 4th round pick and he’s not a typical rookie QB.
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If you want something to compare Barkley’s interview to, here are a couple of Foles videos from last spring.