Sad But True: Eagles may not have been able to do much better in fourth round than Matt Barkley

Sad But True: Eagles may not have been able to do much better in fourth round than Matt Barkley

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.

The alternatives available to Chip Kelly and Howie Roseman that morning:

Rnd Pick Tm Pos Age College/Univ
4 98 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.)

Follow Matt on Twitter: @MKH973 Catch him every Saturday from 12-2 on 97.3 ESPN-FM.

Best of MLB: Royals shut out Marlins for 9th straight win

Best of MLB: Royals shut out Marlins for 9th straight win

MIAMI -- Yordano Ventura escaped two threats while pitching six innings, and the Kansas City Royals extended their winning streak to nine games by beating the Miami Marlins 1-0 on Tuesday night.

Ventura (9-9), who reached 101 mph on the scoreboard radar gun, allowed six hits and one walk while striking out six. Royals starters have an ERA of 1.69 during the winning streak, Kansas City's longest since June 2014.

Three relievers closed out the win and extended the bullpen's streak of 32 consecutive shutout innings since Aug. 10. Kelvin Herrera pitched a perfect ninth for his eighth save.

The Marlins had won three straight but were shut out despite totaling seven hits. They went 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position (see full recap).

Nova, Pirates beat Astros to snap 4-game skid
PITTSBURGH -- Ivan Nova took a shutout into the ninth inning and finished with a six-hitter while Gregory Polanco hit two home runs to lead the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 7-1 victory over the Houston Astros on Tuesday night.

Nova (10-6) struck out six, walked one and threw 69 of his 98 pitches for strikes while improving to 3-0 in four starts since being acquired from the New York Yankees in an Aug. 1 trade.

It was the fourth complete game of the right-hander's seven-year career with the others coming in 2013.

His bid for his third career shutout ended when Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve led off the ninth with consecutive doubles.

After the Pirates scored four runs in the first inning, Polanco hit solo shots in the third and fifth off Joe Musgrove and Tony Sipp to extend the lead to 6-0 and raise his season total to a team-high 19 homers (see full recap).

Gausman, Jones help Orioles roll over Nationals
BALTIMORE -- Kevin Gausman scattered six hits over six shutout innings, Adam Jones went 4 for 5 and the Baltimore Orioles breezed past the Washington Nationals 8-1 on Tuesday night.

Chris Davis hit his 30th home run for the Orioles, who won two straight over Washington to conclude a 3-5 homestand.

Baltimore is 34-24 against the Nationals in a rivalry that began in 2006. The series shifts 38 miles south to Nationals Park on Wednesday for the first of two games.

Gausman (5-10) walked two, struck out two and permitted only one runner past second base. He's 5-1 at home and 0-9 on the road.

The 25-year-old Gausman outpitched Nationals rookie Reynaldo Lopez, a 22-year-old making his fifth major league start. Lopez (2-2) yielded six runs, four earned, and seven hits in 2 2/3 rocky innings (see full recap).

Instant Replay: White Sox 9, Phillies 1

Instant Replay: White Sox 9, Phillies 1

BOX SCORE

CHICAGO — Jake Thompson’s difficult big-league baptism continued in the Phillies’ 9-1 interleague loss to the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday night.
 
The rookie right-hander was tagged for seven runs in five innings. He allowed eight hits and walked four as his ERA in four starts since coming up from Triple A swelled to 9.78. Only Mike Maddux (9.98) in 1986 had a higher ERA for the Phillies in his first four big-league starts.
 
Offensively, the Phillies did little against White Sox lefty Carlos Rodon. They had just five hits for the game.
 
The Phillies have lost five of their last seven and are 58-68 on the season. They have been outscored 18-1 in their last two games.
 
Starting pitching report
Thompson, 22, has been a much different pitcher since coming to the majors than he was in his last 11 starts at Triple A Lehigh Valley. He went 8-0 in those 11 starts and recorded a 1.21 ERA while allowing just 10 earned runs in 74 1/3 innings. He gave up just 52 hits and 18 walks over that span while striking out 42.
 
In four starts with the big club, he has given up 22 hits and 21 earned runs in 19 1/3 innings. He has walked 13 and struck out 13.
 
Two of the four walks that Thompson gave up in this game became runs.
 
Five of the eight hits he allowed were for extra bases, including a pair of homers.
 
Rodon, 23, was the third pick in the 2014 draft, four ahead of Aaron Nola. The lefty held the Phillies to three hits over 6 2/3 scoreless innings. He walked one.
 
Bullpen report
David Hernandez was tagged for two runs.
 
At the plate
Freddy Galvis broke up the White Sox’s shutout bid with a solo homer off reliever Chris Beck in the seventh. Galvis has 13 homers.
 
Jose Abreu and Justin Morneau hit back-to-back homers against Thompson in the fifth inning to help the Sox pull away.
 
Abreu has homered in three straight games.
 
Minor matters
Pitcher Alec Asher, who serving an 80-game suspension for testing positive for a PED, has begun a minor-league rehabilitation assignment with the Phillies’ Gulf Coast League team. Asher is expected to be activated by the big club during the second week of September and he could make several starts down the stretch as the club watches the workload of several pitchers.
 
Up next
The two-game series concludes on Wednesday night. Jerad Eickhoff (8-12, 3.91) opposes right-hander James Shields (5-15, 5.98).

Phillies will take a peek at Tim Tebow, mostly out of curiosity

Phillies will take a peek at Tim Tebow, mostly out of curiosity

CHICAGO — The Phillies will send a scout to watch Tim Tebow’s baseball showcase next Tuesday in Los Angeles.

Now, before you start clearing a space in your closet for a red-pinstriped Tebow jersey — you know, right next to the midnight green Tebow jersey — keep this in mind: the Phillies, and every other team that stops by Tebow’s workout, are merely practicing due diligence by taking a look at an accomplished athlete who long ago showed some baseball aptitude. Tebow’s chances of ever playing in a major-league game are extremely thin.

The former Heisman Trophy winner and two-time national championship quarterback from the University of Florida has not played baseball since 2005, his junior year in high school. He has been training as a baseball player for several months in Arizona. Next week’s showcase was arranged by Tebow’s representatives. Southern California is loaded with amateur baseball talent so many scouts live there. It makes sense that most teams would have a set of eyes on hand for curiosity if nothing else.

Tebow, who turned 29 earlier this month, was a left-handed hitting outfielder/pitcher in high school. He hit .494 with four homers and 30 RBIs as a junior at Nease High School in Ponte Vedra, Florida, before giving up baseball to focus on football. That was a good move as he enjoyed a storied run at Florida. But Tebow has not been able to stick in the NFL.

Tebow played for the Denver Broncos in 2010 and 2011 and the New York Jets in 2012. He attended training camp with the Eagles in 2015, but failed to make the team. He spent last year working as a broadcaster for ESPN.

Obviously, Tebow’s competitive juices still run hot. His athletic résumé alone will attract scouts to his baseball showcase, which, by the way, will be closed to the public.