Former USC Trojans quarterback Matt Barkley slid to the fourth-round of the 2013 NFL Draft, but that may have been more of a blessing than a curse. While Barkley is no stranger to pressure because of his time spent at Mater Dei High School and Southern Cal, he enters the NFL with something that he has never had the chance to experience — no pressure.
Barkley has a legitimate chance to start for the Philadelphia Eagles this season, but there are no expectations or pressure after entering the league as a fourth-rounder and that uncharted territory seems like something Barkley is enjoying.
“I think right now is the least amount of pressure, to tell you the truth, the least amount of attention,” Barkley said, according to Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer. “I don’t mind it either way; you just get used to it. But now, with how the whole draft turned it, it allows me to not worry about anything but just put my head down and work, be focused.”
“I think I kind of knew, when I chose USC, just the pressures that the quarterback had and the responsibilities that the quarterback had with that program in Los Angeles, with that platform. I didn’t really think anything of it. Maybe I was oblivious. But it just seemed natural to take that role.”
If Barkley is to take over the starting gig, he will need to get past NFL veteran Michael Vick and former third-round pick Nick Foles on the depth chart.
It may not be easy, but the lack of pressure allows Barkley to truly be himself and put in the work necessary to better himself as a player without any of the distractions.