The Philadelphia Eagles announced that fourth-round pick Matt Barkley has signed his contract, which is not really news, since everybody knows all the draft picks will eventually sign and it's not as though they can sign anywhere else. But it gives us a reason to bring up Barkley and discuss the extent to which he will or could factor into the Eagles' quarterback picture for 2013.
Michael Vick and Nick Foles have split first-team reps at quarterback during offseason work, but as we've discussed at length here, neither is a flawless option for new head coach Chip Kelly. Barkley, who projected as a high first-round pick in 2012 before deciding to stay in school and then tumbled into the 2013 fourth round after a down year at USC, could move up the depth chart quickly if he shows something. This is what Geoff Mosher wrote about him in a recent review of Eagles minicamp:
Vick and Foles are the clear frontrunners to become Kelly’s first starter, but nothing rookie Matt Barkley did (or didn’t do) at camp should rule him out. Barkley’s command of the huddle looked impressive and the idea that he lacks the arm strength to make several difficult throws might have been the biggest myth of the pre-draft process. The first week or two of camp will be interesting, especially if Barkley continues to impress and if either Vick or Foles struggles out of the gate.
If nothing else, Barkley is the guy to keep an eye on for the future. I still believe Kelly will go with Vick to start the season, but we've all seen Vick turn the ball over and get hurt, and there are legitimate concerns about whether he can consistently unload the ball as quickly as Kelly will want him to. There are several ways Vick could give up the job, assuming it is his in the first place. Foles is a just-OK option who was a third-round pick by the previous coaching staff (i.e., not this one). If the Eagles are convinced the arm-strength issues aren't as serious as they were portrayed prior to the draft, Barkley likely becomes a factor in all of this sooner rather than later.