The Eagles made what will be by far their most surprising pick of the 2013 draft when they traded up for USC QB Matt Barkley in the 4th round. Perhaps the most surprising thing was that so many people assumed Chip Kelly would be looking for more athletic QBs that can run. Barkley is arguably the most prototypical pro style passer in this draft.
As it turns out, the most important body part for a QB is not legs according to Kelly, it's his head.
"I'm going to steal a quote from [former Cleveland Browns head coach] Sam Rutigliano and he used to say, ‘With a quarterback, it's like a tea bag. You don't know what you have until you put it in hot water,'" said Kelly.
"The first time I saw Matt Barkley, he was a true freshman and he came into Autzen Stadium which is one of the toughest places to play in the world and it didn't phase him a bit. Matt Barkley was never a freshman, there was just a poise about him, there was a calm about him - those intangible qualities that you really look for. It's tough to quantify. There's not a test for it."
Kelly says the ability to run is at best an added bonus. First and foremost he has to be able to handle pressure and make accurate throws.
"We had different quarterbacks when I was at Oregon and really, the key is playing to their strengths. But, everything we do, our quarterback has to be able to throw. To play at that level of college football that we were at and to be able to play in the NFL, you have to have a quarterback that is accurate and can deliver the football and protect it and not turn it over. If the fact they have the ability to run, I believe that's an added bonus, but that's not the precursor to what we do. We've said it since day one. I want the quarterback that has the ability to run. I do not want a running back that can throw. We've never been that type of offense and I think that's a misconception."
Barkley says he did work out for the Eagles, but was still surprise when they called him earlier today.
Barkley says his mindset is that he's going to start from day one.
"Absolutely, I'm going to come in and compete. My mindset is I'm starting day one. Whatever happens, whatever the situation is, that has to be your mindset. Coming in and competing like it's your job. Pushing myself, challenging myself day in and day out. I think it will be great to be able to learn from Michael [Vick] as a vet who has been in the league a long time, and to learn from a great coaching staff and to push myself. Absolutely, I'm going to come in and work my hardest from day one."
Will he get a shot? Kelly says his QBs are throwing every day and there will plenty of opportunities for every passer on the roster to prove that he's the man for the job.