Philadelphia Eagles QB Matt Barkley is the rookie getting the most attention as mini-camps have begun. That’s the way it is for now, though, since quarterbacks usually garner the most publicity and he’s the newest bird in the nest at this position.
To his credit, Barkley has handled everything extremely well since the day he was drafted. Right after learning he was an Eagle, his first tweet was “I’m an Eagle!! Time to fly baby“.
Of course, after being drafted he gained all kinds of followers on Twitter and interacted with some of them by re-tweeting their tweets to him. The ones he chose to re-tweet seem to indicate good things about his personality…
“play with a chip on your shoulder. We love you up here in Philly and all that motivation will carry you a long way!
“you will love it in Philly, we have the best fans in the world, but you don’t want to get on the wrong side of them lol.”
“that philly crowd is tough man, but as long as u play to your abilities, be an awesome teammate & lean on God, you’ll be fine”
“If you play hard and with heart, we’ll love you no matter what. Welcome to Philly”
And this is my personal favorite…
“Philly loves ditch diggers, not ballet dancers. Work hard, be professional & Philly will love you. Anything less won’t do.”
Barkley responded to that tweet with a picture of him in Nigeria in 2010 that showed him, well, digging a ditch! Good stuff from Matt there.
The fact he chose to re-tweet these types of statements tells me a lot about his personality. He seems like a guy that truly understands what he needs to do to not only make it in the NFL, but to make it in Philadelphia.
Barkley has handled the media like a pro as well. He carries himself well, speaks well, and shows his confidence without coming across as cocky or arrogant. Here are a few recent quotes, most of which you’ve probably heard by now (courtesy of Les Bowen on Philly.com)…
Barkley said Michael Vick and Nick Foles are “outstanding men,” who “have both done great things,” but “you come in knowing that you have a job. They’re trying to take that job as well. It’s competition. That’s what competing is all about.”
Asked to revisit the disappointing drama of sliding in the draft, Barkley said, “The fact is that I’m here, and I have a shot to play on the field this year.”
“You come in as a teammate to them, not as a fan,” Barkley said. “You come in as someone who is ready to compete against them, at the same time . . . It’s going to be good competition for all of us, competing against each other, just making each other better.”
When asked about the offense:
“I love it. It’s a new challenge,” said Barkley.
“You have to act quickly. You have to be a sharp decision-maker. I think that’s what coach is looking for at the quarterback position,” Barkley said, when asked about the offense. “You’ll see some similar things” to Oregon’s offense. “It’s coach Kelly . . . We have other ideas and schemes fused in. It’s going to be exciting.”
Asked whether he fits the offense – Barkley is perceived as a fast thinker, but not a particularly fast or elusive runner – Barkley said: “I’ll make it fit. It doesn’t matter [what type of offense], I’m going to find a way to help this team out.”
Since the draft, Barkley has gotten mostly positive analysis from the media and NFL analysts. He’s been compared to Eli Manning and Drew Brees and some feel he will fit extremely well with Chip Kelly’s offensive philosophy.
I’m not too sure about those comparisons, but hey, if he ends up being anywhere close to as good as one of those guys then the Eagles got the steal of the 2013 draft. I do, however, feel that Barkley is Chip’s kind of player.
He appears to have every intangible quality that Chip prefers in his QB, with the lone exception of being a threat to run with the ball.
With all of these good feelings and optimism around Barkley, we have to remember that he is, after all, a fourth round draft pick.
We all know the story now…if he declared for the draft last year he would have likely been a top-10 pick. He decided to return for his senior season but USC, along with Barkley’s performance, had a down-year as compared to the previous season.
So, which Barkley are we getting? The one whom everyone thinks was a sure-fire top-10 pick in 2012 or the guy that every team in a QB-starved NFL passed on for three full rounds in the 2013 draft?
Obviously, time will tell us the answer to that. But, for now, the only thing we can really go on is past history. What does past history tell us about quarterbacks who were drafted in the fourth round or later?
Nothing good, that’s for sure.
According to my highly unscientific research, Barkley has about a 10% chance of becoming a QB who will be a starter for multiple games in more than just one or two seasons.
Starting with the 2011 draft, I looked back at the last 25 years to see all of the quarterbacks who were taken in Round 4 or later. Then, based mostly on my opinion and whether or not any of them were either solid starters, or at least started multiple games in multiple seasons, I created a list.
As it turned out, there were a total of 181 quarterbacks taken in Round 4 or later in the drafts between 1987 and 2011. Of those 181 quarterbacks, I found only 18 worth mentioning as noted below (player, year they were drafted, round they were drafted in)…
Kyle Orton 2005 4th
Matt Cassel 2005 7th
Ryan Fitzpatrick 2005 7th
Tony Romo 2003 Undrafted
David Garrard 2002 4th
Marc Bulger 2000 6th
Tom Brady 2000 6th
Matt Hasselbeck 1998 6th
Gus Frerotte 1994 7th
Mark Brunell 1993 5th
Elvis Grbac 1993 8th
Trent Green 1993 8th
Jeff Blake 1992 6th
Brad Johnson 1992 9th
Rodney Peete 1989 6th
Stan Humphries 1988 6th
Rich Gannon 1987 4th
Steve Beuerlein 1987 4th
Of those 18 quarterbacks, five led their team to a Super Bowl (Humphries, Gannon, Hasselbeck, Brady and Johnson) with two of them winning it (Brady, Johnson).
However, with the exception of Brady and Romo, none of those guys were ever really considered “franchise quarterbacks.”
And for the most part, that list elicits a “meh” reaction from me when thinking strictly about the play of those quarterbacks. Okay, but nothing special (aside from Brady).
Therefore, Barkley has to beat some odds that are heavily stacked against him of becoming a long-term successful NFL QB.
This is not to say he can’t or won’t do it, it just says to not get your hopes up too high if you think he’s going to become a franchise kind-of player in Philly. There’s plenty to like about this kid right now, but ultimately we need to see him on the field in an NFL game.
I would describe my current feelings on Barkley as cautiously optimistic while keeping one foot firmly planted in the reality that the odds are stacked against him actually becoming what we all want: the QB of our future.