Do you believe in miracles?
Well if you do, then you should take a good, hard look at Philadelphia Eagles rookie quarterback Matt Barkley and his chances of developing into their starting quarterback in the not-so-distant future. Sure, he might be third on the depth chart right now. That, however, means nothing in today’s NFL, especially at the quarterback position.
Let’s look at it this way. In 2012, Barkley was considered an elite college prospect who likely would have been the third quarterback off the board. Instead, he opted to return to USC in 2013 and pursue a National Championship with the Trojans. While the plan failed and Barkley watched his draft stock plummet, the fact remains that, at one time, he was seen as a top-tier talent.
What that means for the Eagles is they might have pulled off one of the biggest steals of the 2013 NFL Draft.
Through the early portion of Eagles OTAs, reports indicate that Barkley has been extremely impressive. In almost no time at all, he’s made quite the impression on Eagles quarterback coach Bill Lazor, who had nothing but positive things to say about the 2013 fourth-round pick.
“I’m not keeping track, but I would guess most days Matt is the first person in the building. He’s excited to be here. He’s excited to be in the NFL… From the very first day we stepped on the field, he’s shown that he’s accurate. He can throw on the run really well. He makes good decisions. He can, for the first time being in an NFL pocket, make decisions. He looks like he’s done it before. It doesn’t look like it’s his first time and he carries himself the way you want a quarterback to carry himself.”
While it’s obvious that Barkley still has plenty to learn as an NFL quarterback, the fact that he’s already turning heads and receiving glowing recommendations from Lazor is a good sign. It means that he’s standing out and hasn’t faded into the background while Michael Vick and Nick Foles compete for the starting gig.
The only question is whether or not he can stay consistent throughout OTAs and training camp. During his senior season at USC, consistency was a major concern for Barkley. He failed to deliver the same type of elite performance game in and game out, leading many to question his potential as a starting NFL quarterback. The upside is there, though.
It might not happen soon or even this season, but Barkley will be a starting quarterback in the NFL someday. He’s the No. 3 on the Eagles’ depth chart right now, but Vick and Foles can certainly feel him nipping at their heels.
The competition better be careful, because Barkley is hungry.