As a highly touted college recruit, Matt Barkley had been accustomed to being in the limelight. Whether through his widely publicized recruitment to play at USC, his “big man on campus” lifestyle, or his success on playing on Saturdays, Barkley had developed a knack for being popular.
That was until the 2013 NFL Draft, which saw exactly 97 players go off the board before the former USC Trojan.
After a successful 2011 campaign, Barkley decided to return for one last season with his college teammates. Even more than improving on his draft stock, Barkley wanted the opportunity to finally play for a BCS Championship—his Trojans had been penalized for BCS play for recruiting violations in seasons prior.
A consensus first-round selection in a weaker 2011 Draft, Barkley seemed destined to be the latest signal caller in the lineage of Trojan QBs to go onto the next level—following in the footsteps of players like Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart, and John David Booty. Instead, he underwhelmed in his 2012 NCAA season, leading to some skepticism about his ability to play at the next level.
NFL scouts and talent evaluators apparently also had their doubts about Barkley’s abilities, and Barkley’s drop was well documented during the first two days of the NFL draft. Much to his relief, Barkley did not have to wait very long on the third day, eventually falling to the Philadelphia Eagles early in the fourth round (98th overall).
“My experience with the Eagles has been everything I could’ve asked for and more,” Barkley stated in an interview with Pro Player Insiders.
The Eagles have since agreed to a four-year contract with the former USC quarterback, according to the team’s official website. Currently, new head coach Chip Kelly has plugged Barkley into a jam-packed quarterback room that includes Michael Vick, Nick Foles, Dennis Dixon, and G.J. Kinne. Though unlikely to compete for the starting role this season, Kelly has said that he will give all the QBs in camp the opportunity to win the job.
After a disappointing drop, Barkley appeared to have a little bit of a chip on his shoulder.
“It will spur me on to compete and to challenge myself just to be a better quarterback, every day,” Barkley said. “You visualize all the picks that went in front of you — especially the other quarterbacks that were taken. But at the same time, I really feel a great fit with Philadelphia … and I’m excited to see where it goes.”
Photo credit and Interview: Jay Talbott
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