In what can best be classified as taking the best player available regardless of need, the Philadelphia Eagles used the first pick in the fourth round (98th overall) of the 2013 NFL Draft on USC quarterback Matt Barkley. Barkley joins Michael Vick, Nick Foles and Dennis Dixon on the current depth chart under new Eagles’ head coach Chip Kelly.
Vick is widely considered to be the front runner to start Week 1 for Philadelphia, but his propensity for holding the ball too long seems to make him a poor fit for the offense Kelly ran while at Oregon, even without his age (33 in June) and injury history in the conversation. Still, barring something unforeseen, the starting job looks like Vick’s to lose.
Foles started six games for the Eagles as a rookie in 2012 and he had some good moments, including two 300-yard passing games (Week 14 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers-381 yards; Week 16 against the Washington Redskins-345 yards). Trade rumors have surrounded Foles this offseason, but for now he is still in Philadelphia and a potential starting candidate.
Dixon does not have a significant NFL resume, with just three career starts, but he played under Kelly’s tutelage at Oregon and theoretically has a leg up on the other Eagles’ quarterbacks in terms of knowledge of the coach’s system.
Barkley is gaining buzz as the possible Week 1 starter under center for the Eagles, as unlikely as it seemed at the time he was drafted. Accuracy is perhaps Barkley’s best attribute, and the top quality Kelly has said he seeks in a quarterback, and the fact he is the only of the top three starting candidates that Kelly was able hand-pick works in the rookie’s favor.
Vick is still the Eagles’ quarterback that fantasy football owners should hold in the highest regard right now, but he remains one of the most high risk-high reward players regardless of position. Those that choose to draft him will surely have to have a stable second quarterback in place to help mitigate the risk associated with owning Vick.
Foles saw action due to Vick being sidelined last season, and it may take a similar situation for him to see the field in 2013. Unless he happens to win the starting job during the preseason, fantasy owners can safely avoid drafting Foles.
Dixon may not even make it to Week 1 on Philadelphia’s 53-man roster, and it may be impossible to even find him on any reputable fantasy cheatsheet once draft season gets rolling.
Barkley may be the most intriguing option in the group, but his value in single-season leagues for 2013 is very limited at this point. If he does overcome what looks like long odds to win the starting job right out of the gate, Barkley could be a viable low-end QB2 in 12 and 14-team leagues.