Instantly, the quarterback competition that Chip Kelly has insisted will be taking place over the course of spring practices all through the preseason became immensely more interesting with Barkley’s hat thrown into the ring.
One analyst who sees a fount of potential in Barkley is ESPN’s Trent Dilfer, who says he believes the 22-year old will be the Eagles starting quarterback for up to a decade after taking a season or two to marinate under Kelly’s watch.
“I thought he was a first round talent,” Dilfer said. “But when you look at his film, I was really intrigued because of what he does as a player, are really graduate level things. Line of scrimmage control, controlling the run game, Pre-snap reads, adjustments, anticipating blitz packages and it really reminded me of Eli Manning. I took out Eli’s tape from Ole Miss and it was amazing the comparisons between the two. The more tools you give them to control the game at the line of scrimmage to help their teams, where they can use their cognitive skills and talents as well as their physical talents, that’s where you really see the wholeness of them as a quarterback come out.”
Certainly high praise, to compare a fourth-round draft choice to a two-time Super Bowl MVP who has passed for 31,527 yards in his career.
Barkley finished his career at USC with a 63 percent completion percentage and was a four-year starter for the Trojans in a pro-style offense, holding several Pac-12 passing records. In all likelihood, he would have been the third overall selection had he chosen to enter the draft in 2012 rather than return to Southern California for his senior season.
In Philadelphia, Kelly has asserted since the day that he took the Eagles’ head coaching job that there will be a full-fledged competition for the starting quarterback job. Dilfer believes Barkley could be in play for the job immediately.
“I think if Chip Kelly is true to his word, which I know him to be, it will truly be a competition day in and day out, and if that’s the case, then Michael Vick is up for a very hard fight with Matt Barkley.”
“I think Matt Barkley will thrive in this system right away because it’s perfectly built for him and it’s something his football pedigree has prepared him for. Michael is a clear-minded guy and I think he will thrive in it too, but it will be a fierce competition. If Michael doesn’t grasp it and thrive in the quick-decision passing game early on, then Matt Barkley will get some opportunities to get some snaps.”
Kelly made it a point last month to explain that the quarterbacks were even on the depth chart at that point. However, at the time, that was before the team traded up in the fourth round to snag Barkley.
Barkley’s selection certainly has created buzz around the NFL and in Philadelphia, where the competition for the starting job was anticipated to be between Vick and Nick Foles. It appears that the USC product already could have an impact on this position battle.
Matt Lombardo is also an on-air personality on 97.5 FM The Fanatic in Philadelphia. Join the conversation and follow Matt on Twitter.