As noted in the NFL Data Consultants prediction of the Philadelphia Eagles QBs, both Nick Foles and Matt Barkley have analytical comparisons to Pro Bowl Quarterbacks using our comparative analysis methodology. For Nick Foles, the comparison is Aaron Rodgers, who was afforded some development time behind Brett Favre. Foles has undertaken a very different development track, but the same upside remains and one game shouldn’t decide his fate, whether it was the poor performance against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 7 or the record breaking performance against the Oakland Raiders in Week 9. The key is using an analytical approach, not an emotional approach is to understand the upside, potential, or lack of it for a Quarterback and to understand measuring his development; this allows an objective approach when a single game may just be an outlier in either direction. (Example: The Nationally Televised MNF Football game between the Atlanta Falcons and New Yorks in which Geno Smith threw 3 touchdowns and no interceptions with a 147.7 QB Rating. To date, that is the only game in which he has a positive touchdown to interception ratio with 9 games played, and his current QB Rating of 71.0 is in the low 70s, which is in the range of Geno Smith’s analytical prediction.)
With that introduction, I want to show the contrarian view of Matt Barkley. This is an analytical comparison you will see no where else, and you must buckle down with an analytical mindset and take in all the facts before you emotionally sound off. Out of nearly 900 QBs included in this analytical study, Matt Barkley only has one other Quarterback in his group, meaning it is a very well defined group. That other quarterback? Peyton Manning. If you take the emotional approach, you are probably exiting now before even seeing the data and analysis. You see where Peyton Manning is now and assume he has always played like a super star. Peyton Manning had his share of very tough games as a rookie (similar to Matt Barkley).
At this point, Matt Barkley has thrown 49 attempts, and I wanted to chart his start to the first two starts of Peyton Manning’s career, which includes Peyton Manning’s first 70 passes in the league.
Was that a lot closer than you would expect? Peyton Manning was taken 1st overall in the NFL Draft, thus the Indianapolis Colts committed to him and let him progress and develop. Peyton Manning has lost arm strength since his neck injury, but his game is not predicated on arm strength, but on the mastery of his offense and pre-snaps reads, and adjustments. Matt Barkley’s arm strength will improve as he has entered the league with a shoulder injury, but his arm strength will never be his calling card. If Peyton’s career progression is any indication, Barkley will need about 600 pass attempts to reach his next level and has the upside to reach a very high level. With the analytical comparison and play of Nick Foles, it will be very difficult for Matt Barkley to get those reps as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles. Thus stated in the original prediction, it would serve the Philadelphia Eagles better to go with Nick Foles and Matt Barkley for the long term and to get Matt Barkley reps when blowouts or injury make it possible. This was similar to the approach suggested for the Houston Texans Quarterbacks with Case Keenum and Matt Schaub, although Case Keenum’s QB group was not as strongly defined as Matt Barkley’s and Keenum needed reps for evaluation due to the massive upside of his group. Needless to say, the evaluation of Quarterbacks by the Philadelphia Eagles in the past two NFL drafts has been stellar, as they have loaded the position with massive talent and upside using only 3rd and 4th round picks in the NFL Draft. Kudos to the Philadelphia Eagles scouting department and General Manager, Howie Roseman.