Eagles trade up to take USC's Matt Barkley with first choice of the day
NEW YORK — This was one rush quarterbacks embraced.
Starting with Matt Barkley, the fourth round of the NFL draft was the landing spot for quarterbacks who carried hopes of going much higher. Philadelphia traded up with Jacksonville to get the USC quarterback with the opening selection Saturday.
“I try not to get stressed about things I can’t control,” Barkley said when asked about his drop in the draft from likely first-rounder in 2012 to No. 98 overall. “I’m just glad I know where my home is, and I can’t wait to hit the playbook.”
Yes, it was three rounds later than Barkley hoped for. Same thing for Ryan Nassib of Syracuse, Landry Jones of Oklahoma and Tyler Wilson of Arkansas, the other quarterbacks chosen in Round 4.
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“We’re going to take the best value on the board,” coach Chip Kelly said, adding the Eagles rated Barkley in the top 50. “There’s a prime example. The best value on the board by far was Matt. He’s an extremely mature young man, intelligent, articulate. He has that ‘it’ factor.”
Perhaps. Although he seemed to have a lot more of it last year, but Barkley opted to return to school. He and the Trojans slumped, Barkley injured his shoulder, and his stock plummeted.
He will join quarterbacks Michael Vick and Nick Foles in Philadelphia.
The New York Giants, hardly in need of a quarterback with Eli Manning in his prime, still dealt with Arizona to move up for Nassib.
Nassib, from the Philadelphia suburbs, took a call from Giants coach Tom Coughlin, but wasn’t sure what Coughlin told him.
“To be honest with you, I blacked out. I didn’t get everything,” Nassib said. “What I did get from him was that first off I had to cut my ties with the Philadelphia Eagles and switch, which won’t be a problem.”
Oakland, which acquired Matt Flynn from Seattle in the offseason, followed two choices later at No. 112 overall with Wilson. Three spots after that, Pittsburgh grabbed Jones, probably hoping to groom him behind Ben Roethlisberger.
“I just think it was time to start grooming a new player, freshen up the room if you will,” quarterbacks coach Randy Fichtner said.
“I get to learn from one of the best quarterbacks to play the game,” Jones added.
Before the surge Saturday, quarterbacks were rare — only one was chosen in each of the first three rounds: Florida State’s EJ Manuel by Buffalo in the first round; West Virginia’s Geno Smith by the Jets in the second; and North Carolina State’s Mike Glennon by Tampa Bay in the third.
In all, 11 quarterbacks were selected, the same number as last year. But four went in the first round in 2012.