With the 2013 NFL Draft in the rearview mirror and the 90-man roster filled to the brim, it’s time to take a closer look at how the position-by-position picture forecasts for the Eagles. We start, as always, at the quarterback position where five players are slated to compete for the job of Chip Kelly’s quarterback. Let’s take a look, in alphabetical order …
So what now? Well, now Barkley competes. Considering that Barkley has been his team’s No. 1 quarterback for eight straight years (four in high school, four in college), he’ll have every intention of trying to win the starting job. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Remember that Barkley is a fourth-round pick, not a first-round pick. The Eagles believe in his long-term upside, but if Kelly, Howie Roseman and crew considered him an immediate starting quarterback, they would have picked him much earlier. Consider that, as pointed out earlier this week by Sheil Kapadia, only three of the 31 projected starting quarterbacks elsewhere in the league were drafted in the fourth round or later (sixth-round pick Tom Brady, seventh-round pick Matt Flynn and undrafted Tony Romo). So give Barkley some time to learn and grow under Kelly before expecting immediate returns. As Roseman said a few weeks ago, the goal of the NFL Draft is to get the best players three years from now, not to get the best players next season.
Kelly, meanwhile, is familiar with Foles from having coached against the quarterback in the Pac-12. Since becoming head coach, Kelly has professed an affinity for Foles, especially for the latter’s decision-making and toughness. If anything, the selection of Barkley confirms that Kelly will be comfortable with a more traditional pocket quarterback running his offense, which bodes well for Foles’ chances of winning the starting job. Foles and Vick basically split the first-team reps in the team’s first minicamp and that should be the expectation moving forward. Both players will have ample opportunities to show their worth to Kelly and the rest of the coaching staff.
Michael Vick – Re-signed to a restructured contract in February, Vick is likely the most intriguing quarterback option for the Kelly and the Eagles. With his unique athleticism and rocket arm, Vick has the tools you would wishcast on a Kelly quarterback. But the rub, as it has been with Vick over the past two seasons, is a distressing penchant for turning the ball over. In his breakout 2010 season, Vick threw 21 touchdowns to only six interceptions. But Vick’s touchdown-to-interception ratio sank along with the Eagles’ victories over the past two seasons, as he tossed 30 touchdowns to 24 interceptions in 23 games. To that, add on Vick’s 32 total fumbles over the last three seasons (12 of which were lost to the opposing team) and you begin to understand why Vick said on Twitter a few days ago that his biggest priority this offseason is to improve his ball security.
With Vick, there is also the question of health, as he’s missed games due to injury in each of the last three seasons. Still, the 32-year-old is among the most talented quarterbacks in the league and he’ll be judged by Kelly and the rest of the staff more on his performance this offseason than on what he’s done in the past. And that’s precisely why the months ahead should be so interesting for Eagles fans. Right now, it’s anyone’s job to win.
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