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Sad But True: Eagles may not have been able to do much better in fourth round than Matt Barkley

Oct 22, 2013, 12:06 PM EDT

bark-usc

It’s safe to say Matt Barkley’s NFL debut was… underwhelming. Three of his first 20 passes, all thrown after Nick Foles was knocked out of the Eagles 17-3 loss to the Cowboys on Sunday with what’s since been diagnosed as a concussion, were intercepted. A fourth was negated by a penalty. Poor decisions. Poor accuracy. Poor arm strength. Poor vision. Barkley’s struggles, it seemed, had no bounds.

Not surprisingly, some all (?) fans went as far as to question on local talk radio drafting Barkley with the first pick of the fourth round this past April. Only problem: there wasn’t much else there.

The alternatives available to Chip Kelly and Howie Roseman that morning:

Rnd Pick Tm Pos Age College/Univ
4 98 PHI Matt Barkley QB 23 USC
4 99 KAN Nico Johnson ILB 23 Alabama
4 100 TAM Akeem Spence DT 21 Illinois
4 101 JAX Ace Sanders WR 21 South Carolina
4 102 NWE Josh Boyce WR 22 TCU
4 103 ARI Alex Okafor DE 22 Texas
4 104 MIA Jelani Jenkins OLB 21 Florida
4 105 BUF Duke Williams FS 22 Nevada-Reno
4 106 MIA Dion Sims TE 22 Michigan St.
4 107 TEN Brian Schwenke C 22 California
4 108 CAR Edmund Kugbila G 23 Valdosta St.
4 109 GNB David Bakhtiari T 22 Colorado
4 110 NYG Ryan Nassib QB 23 Syracuse
4 111 PIT Shamarko Thomas SS 22 Syracuse
4 112 OAK Tyler Wilson QB 24 Arkansas
4 113 STL Barrett Jones G 23 Alabama
4 114 DAL B.W. Webb CB 23 William & Mary
4 115 PIT Landry Jones QB 24 Oklahoma
4 116 ARI Earl Watford G 23 James Madison
4 117 CHI Khaseem Greene OLB 24 Rutgers
4 118 CIN Sean Porter OLB 22 Texas A&M
4 119 WAS Phillip Thomas SS 24 Fresno St.
4 120 MIN Gerald Hodges OLB 22 Penn St.
4 121 IND Khaled Holmes C 23 USC
4 122 GNB J.C. Tretter T 22 Cornell
4 123 SEA Chris Harper WR 24 Kansas St.
4 124 HOU Trevardo Williams DE 22 Connecticut
4 125 GNB Johnathan Franklin RB 23 UCLA
4 126 TAM William Gholston DE 22 Michigan St.
4 127 ATL Malliciah Goodman DE 23 Clemson
4 128 SFO Quinton Patton WR 23 Louisiana Tech
4 129 BAL John Simon DE 23 Ohio St.
4 130 BAL Kyle Juszczyk FB 22 Harvard
4 131 SFO Marcus Lattimore RB 21 South Carolina
4 132 DET Devin Taylor DE 23 South Carolina
4 133 ATL Levine Toilolo TE 22 Stanford

Slim pickings, indeed.

You could argue the Eagles could’ve gone with a different QB — most would say Nassib, I’d counter with Jones. But remember, one of the main reasons Kelly went QB there, he’s said, was the perceived value of getting a guy once thought to be a No. 1 overall prospect with a third-day pick.

Lattimore was coming off, well, this and wasn’t expected to play this season. (Nor has he.) The Eagles didn’t need a running back anyway — really? who saw 2013 Bryce Brown coming? — so Jonathan Franklin, UCLA’s all-time rushing leader now with Green Bay, wouldn’t have made much sense either.

You can never have enough interior offensive linemen, especially with two returners (Jason Kelce, Evan Mathis) coming off injury and the guy who shoved A.J. McCarron in the BCS National Championship still available. But Jones, too, was on the mend then from a Lisfranc injury.

Ultimately: if you’re going to bash a draft pick, you have to offer an alternative. And while it looks like the Eagles may have taken a real Brandon Graham here, it wasn’t 2010. There wasn’t an Earl Thomas or Jason Pierre-Paul plainly behind him. (Nor was this the first round. It was the fourth, where you tend to roll the dice like you’re Seth Rogen in “Knocked Up,” hoping to score Katherine Heigl. Or something.)

Follow Matt on Twitter: @MKH973 Catch him every Saturday from 12-2 on 97.3 ESPN-FM.

  1. Dan - Oct 22, 2013 at 12:31 PM

    I’m a Syracuse homer but I would’ve selected Shamarko Thomas over Barkley especially now looking at how soft we are on defense. The man destroys everyone over the middle.

    Reply
    • toobis - Oct 22, 2013 at 2:21 PM

      I would have taken Shamarko Thomas, just because his first name is so badass

      Reply
  2. Scott B - Oct 22, 2013 at 1:39 PM

    With all the poor decisions Matt made on Sunday, was it just lack of preparation, the spotlight of having to play against Dallas or is this kid really this bad?

    Went to see what Kiper said about this guy around draft time, went back and found this interesting. If Kiper thinks Barkley was going to be the Eagles starting QB in the next 2 years, what would he need to learn (improve on) in 24 months? Just the speed of the game, mechanics?

    ***

    “[Coach Chip Kelly] doesn’t have to have a mobile quarterback,” Kiper said. “He doesn’t have to have a guy who can run the read-option. I think Matt Barkley, two years from now, is the starting quarterback for the Eagles.”

    Barkley was regarded as the possible No. 1 overall pick in 2012, but opted to return for his senior season at USC. Collectively, the Trojans underachieved last season, which sent Barkley’s draft stock tumbling.

    All quarterbacks in this draft were also hampered by the collective weakness at the position. Only Florida State’s E.J. Manuel went off the board in the first round, and that came as a surprise when the Buffalo Bills reached at pick No. 16.

    In a draft when all quarterbacks had question marks, Barkley was arguably the most polished with experience in a pro-style offense and the football IQ to make play calls and shift protections at the line of scrimmage.

    Reply
    • Andrew Kulp - Oct 22, 2013 at 2:05 PM

      “or is this kid really this bad? ”

      If you even went there, you are probably thinking about it too much. You can’t honestly expect a fourth-round rookie/third-string QB to do anything in his first NFL game when he comes off the bench cold and the team is down 17-3 in the fourth quarter.

      Reply
      • Scott B - Oct 22, 2013 at 2:54 PM

        Bull busting here but why cant a QB come in and lead the team to victory? Just need to look at AJ Feeley, Fifth rounder, 3rd string came in for Koy Detmer against the Bucs in his first game ever, 4th quarter, down 14-3 and lead the team to victory, 17-14.

        But seriously, having a hard time buying into Kiper thinking he’s our starter in 2 years. Saw a lot of him in college and doesn’t scream NFL starter, Sunday or in 2 years. If you cant say that about a kid coming out of college, I dont know how he’ll evolve to be anything more than a backup.

      • Andrew Kulp - Oct 22, 2013 at 3:21 PM

        Well, I never thought Barkley was going to be the starter. When the Eagles drafted Foles, I didn’t think he he would wind up being the starter either. Quarterbacks taken in the third and fourth round traditionally don’t wind up starting much, and the ones that do usually aren’t very good. If NFL teams thought those guys were likely to be successful starters, they wouldn’t have slipped past the first or second round.

        As for Sunday, it’s all about circumstances. In the game you’re referring to, Feeley led that comeback against the Bucs’ backups in a meaningless Week 17 game. It’s hardly the same thing.

        Could Barkley have led a game-winning comeback over Dallas? Hypothetically, it was within the realm of possibility. The fact that he didn’t though and looked awful in the process doesn’t mean much though. What Barkley did is typical of a rookie QB coming off the bench for his first NFL action when the team is behind. No one on that coaching staff or front office is going to put much weight on that performance.

      • hitnrun - Oct 22, 2013 at 6:01 PM

        The fact that he was trying to lead the team to victory instead of just running the offense clearly contributed to a lot of those interceptions.

        All three of them, basically, were a refusal to let a play fail. That can be corrected.

    • erzug - Oct 22, 2013 at 3:26 PM

      I’d want to wait until Barkley gets a week working with the first string offense before condemning him. He was essentially thrust into a bad situation. A 14 point deficit that most likely none of our QB’s would have brought up back from. Kiffin seemed to have all the answers. Our O-line was again less than brilliant, especially against a DeMarcus Ware-less D-line. McCoy admitted to having his worst game decision-wise since his rookie season.

      Actually, all along I expected Barkley to be their QB going into the latter 3rd of the season. The Eagles need to know what they’ve got in the Foles, er fold, to determine if they spend their first pick on a QB next year.

      Reply
  3. DannyBoy - Oct 23, 2013 at 6:55 AM

    Calm down there, killer. First, there is no lack of arm strength. He’s got a stronger arm than Vick or Foles and a quicker release time, too. Second, the Great and Powerful Peyton Manning threw 28 INTs in his rookie season. Young guys have a learning curve in the NFL, simple as that. If he worked with the first team all week and Coach game-planned with him in mind, I still wouldn’t be mad at 3 picks in his first game. He’s a smart, confident, young QB with a lot of potential. Will he be a Hall of Fame or even franchise player one day? You’ll have to either call Kreskin or just wait and see. But for now, let’s cut him just a teensy bit of slack before giving him the Mamula treatment.

    Reply

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