PHILADELPHIA - The Eagles finally drafted their quarterback of the future Saturday.

Coach Chip Kelly and general manager Howie Roseman traded up in the fourth round and selected University of Southern California quarterback Matt Barkley.

"Matt has all the intangibles you want in a quarterback," Kelly said. "I saw him up close and personal four times (when USC played Oregon) and he answered the bell every time. He was the best value on our (draft) board, by far."

Barkley comes off a disappointing and injury-plagued final season, but if he had come out after his junior season he might have been the top pick in last year's draft.

Instead, he was the third quarterback chosen in this year's draft and was the 98th player taken overall. Philadelphia gave Jacksonville a fourth-round pick (101) and a seventh-rounder (210) to move ahead of Kansas City and take Barkley.

Former Eagles coach Andy Reid, now the Chiefs' coach, may have taken Barkley at 99.

"I'm not sure why I fell (into the fourth round), but it doesn't matter," Barkley said Saturday in a phone interview. "All it takes is one team and I'm blessed that the Eagles believe in me and are willing to give me a chance.

"This comes as a breath of fresh air and it's a new beginning for me. No matter when it happened, I'm happy to have a home."

The Eagles already have Michael Vick, Nick Foles and Dennis Dixon at quarterback.

Last season Barkley was 246-for-387 for 3,273 yards passing with 36 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. His junior season he was 308-for-446 for 3,528 yards with 39 touchdowns and only seven interceptions.

Along the way, he also displayed his toughness and leadership, qualities that Kelly and the Eagles value over his arm strength and lack of mobility.

"Arm strength is overrated," Kelly said. "We're not trying to find someone who can knock over milk cartons in a cow field. We want a guy that can put the ball in the right place and Matt can do that. Matt's a passer, not a thrower."

 

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