It's safe to say Matt Barkley's NFL debut was... underwhelming. Three of his first 20 passes, all thrown after Nick Foles was knocked out of the Eagles 17-3 loss to the Cowboys on Sunday with what's since been diagnosed as a concussion, were intercepted. A fourth was negated by a penalty. Poor decisions. Poor accuracy. Poor arm strength. Poor vision. Barkley's struggles, it seemed, had no bounds.
Not surprisingly, some all (?) fans went as far as to question on local talk radio drafting Barkley with the first pick of the fourth round this past April. Only problem: there wasn't much else there.PHI Matt Barkley QB 23 USC 4 99 KAN Nico Johnson ILB 23 Alabama 4 100 TAM Akeem Spence DT 21 Illinois 4 101 JAX Ace Sanders WR 21 South Carolina 4 102 NWE Josh Boyce WR 22 TCU 4 103 ARI Alex Okafor DE 22 Texas 4 104 MIA Jelani Jenkins OLB 21 Florida 4 105 BUF Duke Williams FS 22 Nevada-Reno 4 106 MIA Dion Sims TE 22 Michigan St. 4 107 TEN Brian Schwenke C 22 California 4 108 CAR Edmund Kugbila G 23 Valdosta St. 4 109 GNB David Bakhtiari T 22 Colorado 4 110 NYG Ryan Nassib QB 23 Syracuse 4 111 PIT Shamarko Thomas SS 22 Syracuse 4 112 OAK Tyler Wilson QB 24 Arkansas 4 113 STL Barrett Jones G 23 Alabama 4 114 DAL B.W. Webb CB 23 William & Mary 4 115 PIT Landry Jones QB 24 Oklahoma 4 116 ARI Earl Watford G 23 James Madison 4 117 CHI Khaseem Greene OLB 24 Rutgers 4 118 CIN Sean Porter OLB 22 Texas A&M 4 119 WAS Phillip Thomas SS 24 Fresno St. 4 120 MIN Gerald Hodges OLB 22 Penn St. 4 121 IND Khaled Holmes C 23 USC 4 122 GNB J.C. Tretter T 22 Cornell 4 123 SEA Chris Harper WR 24 Kansas St. 4 124 HOU Trevardo Williams DE 22 Connecticut 4 125 GNB Johnathan Franklin RB 23 UCLA 4 126 TAM William Gholston DE 22 Michigan St. 4 127 ATL Malliciah Goodman DE 23 Clemson 4 128 SFO Quinton Patton WR 23 Louisiana Tech 4 129 BAL John Simon DE 23 Ohio St. 4 130 BAL Kyle Juszczyk FB 22 Harvard 4 131 SFO Marcus Lattimore RB 21 South Carolina 4 132 DET Devin Taylor DE 23 South Carolina 4 133 ATL Levine Toilolo TE 22 Stanford
Slim pickings, indeed.
You could argue the Eagles could've gone with a different QB -- most would say Nassib, I'd counter with Jones. But remember, one of the main reasons Kelly went QB there, he's said, was the perceived value of getting a guy once thought to be a No. 1 overall prospect with a third-day pick.
Lattimore was coming off, well, this and wasn't expected to play this season. (Nor has he.) The Eagles didn't need a running back anyway -- really? who saw 2013 Bryce Brown coming? -- so Jonathan Franklin, UCLA's all-time rushing leader now with Green Bay, wouldn't have made much sense either.
You can never have enough interior offensive linemen, especially with two returners (Jason Kelce, Evan Mathis) coming off injury and the guy who shoved A.J. McCarron in the BCS National Championship still available. But Jones, too, was on the mend then from a Lisfranc injury.
Ultimately: if you're going to bash a draft pick, you have to offer an alternative. And while it looks like the Eagles may have taken a real Brandon Graham here, it wasn't 2010. There wasn't an Earl Thomas or Jason Pierre-Paul plainly behind him. (Nor was this the first round. It was the fourth, where you tend to roll the dice like you're Seth Rogen in "Knocked Up," hoping to score Katherine Heigl. Or something.)