Bucky Brooks: Matt Barkley could be the next Tom Brady

Stephen Dunn

Much has been made of the Eagles selection of Matt Barkley in last month's NFL Draft, but one analyst has been especially optimistic about the former Trojan's future in Philadelphia. Former NFL scout Bucky Brooks (who somewhat rivals Brian Baldinger, when it comes to getting ahead of himself) claims that Barkley's situation is similar to that of Patriots three-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback, Tom Brady's entrance into the league. He also believes that the 98th overall pick should and will be the franchise's quarterback of the future.

Brooks' logic for the Brady/Barkley comparison is based on a few factors. For one, Brooks believes that like Brady behind Drew Bledsoe, Barkley will benefit from sitting back and learning behind Michael Vick. Brady was the backup to Bledsoe in 2000 but took over for veteran after he was injured in 2001. Brooks anticipates that Barkley will likely assume the starting role in the near future.

Along with the whole "clipboard holder" comparison, Brooks believes the assumed fast-paced offense that Chip Kelly will run in the NFL is perfect for Barkley. Generally considered a West Coast quarterback prior to the draft, Brooks also believes the presence of Pat Shurmur will also benefit the rookie's development. "Observers have speculated that Kelly would attempt to bring his zone-read system to the NFL, but the hiring of Shurmur as the Eagles' offensive coordinator makes it highly likely the team will use a hybrid offense with several West Coast principles," Brooks said. "This makes the Barkley pick a sensible one, given his experience running a similar system at USC." Unsurprisingly, the former scout adds that the Eagles plethora of playmakers are also a positive for Barkely's situation.

Brooks comparisons and his explanations are all really just speculation. While the two late-round picks are easy to compare in a general sense, there are several problems with a direct comparison. The issue with assuming anything about Kelly's offense is both useless and likely in some way inaccurate, given the twists and turns in the players collected at the quarterback position. Also, while having a West Coast offensive coordinator is great for a player of Barkley's talent, most would acknowledge that it would be a shock if Kelly was not the true offensive play-caller in Philadelphia.

Another part of the comparison that has holes is with the playmakers. Brady did not take the Patriots to the Super Bowl with the offensive talent that Barkley is set to inherit. While that may be more of a positive than a negative, it may not be fair to compare the situations. If you would pass up Desean Jackson, Lesean McCoy and Brent Celek for Troy Brown, Antowain Smith and Jermaine Wiggins, then you are likely in the minority. The Eagles offensive talent far outweighs the Patriots during their first Super Bowl run, making Brady's success that much more impressive.

The biggest issue with the comparison is the idea that backing up Vick is comparable to Bledsoe. No matter how you feel about Vick, it is really hard to comprehend how Barkley would learn very much from the veteran, like Brady did from Bledsoe. The former Patriot, Bill and Cowboy was a starter in a Super Bowl prior to Brady's arrival, he was similar style quarterback, and by all accounts, he was a student of the game. None of those attributes rings true for Vick, who likely will be a lame duck entering 2013. However, an argument could be made that Brooks is just saying that Barkley sitting for a year (no matter who the starter is) will benefit his game, but for argument's sake, he did directly mention Vick as the guy in front of the rookie.

Either way you look at it, the message is clearly positive for the Eagles, which is a big turnaround from the last six months. Whether you like Barkley or not, his potential is there and he was nabbed for just a third day pick. So while he will not likely be the starter entering 2014, it is very intriguing to see where the future takes the promising prospect.

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