NEW YORK – This was one rush quarterbacks embraced.
Starting with Matt Barkley, the fourth round of the NFL draft was the landing spot for quarterbacks who carried hopes of going much higher. Philadelphia traded up with Jacksonville to get the Southern California QB with the opening pick Saturday.
I try not to get stressed about things I can’t control, Barkley said when asked about his drop in the draft from likely first-rounder in 2012 to No. 98 overall. I’m just glad I know where my home is and I can’t wait to hit the playbook.
Yes, it was three rounds later than Barkley hoped for. Same thing for Ryan Nassib of Syracuse, Landry Jones of Oklahoma and Tyler Wilson of Arkansas, the other quarterbacks chosen in Round 4.
We’re going to take the best value on the board, coach Chip Kelly said, adding the Eagles rated Barkley in the top 50.
He will join quarterbacks Michael Vick and Nick Foles in Philadelphia.
The New York Giants, hardly in need of a quarterback with Eli Manning in his prime, still dealt with Arizona to move up for Nassib.
Oakland, which acquired Matt Flynn from Seattle in the offseason to be its starter, followed two picks later at No. 112 overall with Wilson. Three spots after that, Pittsburgh grabbed Jones, probably hoping to groom him behind Ben Roethlisberger.
Before Saturday’s surge, only three quarterbacks were chosen. In all, 11 QBs were selected, the same number as last year. But four went in the first round in 2012.
A former quarterback, Denard Robinson of Michigan, is headed to Jacksonville, which had one of the league’s worst offenses the last two years. Robinson will be switched to running back or receiver by the Jaguars; he set the NCAA record for career yards rushing (4,495) by a quarterback.
A lot of people have put me at different positions, he said. Now it’s time to go to work.
South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore, who would have been a high pick if healthy but is coming off a second severe knee injury, went to the 49ers 131st overall. San Francisco can afford to redshirt Lattimore because it has a strong stable of runners, including Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter and LaMichael James.
Bears go for linebacker, tackle
The Bears devoted their fourth- and fifth-round picks to more linebacker and offensive line help.
The Bears selected linebacker Khaseem Greene of Rutgers in the fourth round, then, after trading down 10 spots in Round 5, took Louisiana Tech offensive tackle Jordan Mills.
The Bears added Georgia defensive end Cornelius Washington in Round 6 with the 188th overall selection and in Round 7 selected Washington State wide receiver Marquess Wilson with the 236th pick.
Greene, who is 6-foot-1, 241 pounds, converted from safety to outside linebacker in 2011 and set an NCAA record with 15 career forced fumbles.
Mills, who is 6-foot-5 and 316 pounds, started all 25 games the last two seasons for Louisiana Tech at right tackle.
Washington, a 6-4, 265-pounder, had 10 1/2 sacks and 17 tackles for loss in four seasons for Georgia. He played linebacker and defensive end. Washington had an NFL combine-best 36 repetitions for linebackers in the bench press at 225 pounds.
Wilson, a 6-2, 194-pound wideout, was Washington State’s team MVP in 2011. In 2012, he lost his starting job before the Stanford game, was suspended in November after he walked out of a conditioning session that he deemed too long, and then quit the team before issuing a statement accusing coach Mike Leach of physical, emotional and verbal abuse.