Matt Barkley's welcome to Philadelphia included a swarm of reporters invading almost every sliver of personal space surrounding him. It was evidence to the Los Angeles-area native that the closest thing to a Hollywood star in this city is an Eagles quarterback.
At Friday's rookie minicamp at the NovaCare Center, Barkley was the biggest attraction. He was not the Eagles' first-round pick in the recent draft. He was not even the second- or third-round pick.
But the fourth-rounder with the ballyhooed college resumé at Southern California has three days to impress the coaching staff before Michael Vick and Nick Foles arrive for Monday's organized team activities and take practice reps away from Barkley.
Barkley was handed a playbook and experienced the first day of coach Chip Kelly's new offense. The practice was closed to outsiders, so testimony as to how Barkley fits in this new scheme came mostly from the quarterback himself.
"I think I'll make it fit," Barkley said. "It doesn't matter what plays we're going to run. I'm going to find a way to help this team out."
Barkley was one of 42 players participating at this weekend's minicamp. All eight draft picks were present, including the first-round pick, right tackle Lane Johnson, and the second-round pick, tight end Zach Ertz. For Ertz and the seventh-round pick, cornerback Jordan Poyer, this will be their lone chance to impress the coaches until training camp because they have yet to complete their college academic requirements.
There are also 19 other players trying out for the Eagles, including former Eagles linebacker Chris Gocong. Gocong said he's recovered from the ruptured Achilles tendon that ended his season with the Browns last year before it started, and Friday was his first time on the field since last August.
But Barkley is the biggest name in this camp, in part because of his position, in part because of his profile, and also because of the intrigue as to how Kelly might use him. Kelly has tried for four months to fight the perception that he requires a mobile quarterback. Barkley has many qualities, but mobility does not top that list.
"I know Coach Kelly has a way of working things out as well in terms of how he schemes and how he calls plays," Barkley said. "I'm not worried about how this will turn out. I'm just worried about the here and now."
Barkley said the offense he ran in practice Friday has similarities to what Kelly ran in Oregon and also to what Barkley ran at USC. Ertz, a tight end from Stanford, also noticed a strong resemblance to what the Ducks did.
"I think it's what you kind of saw at Oregon," Ertz said. "It's all the same stuff. Fast tempo."
Barkley made one absolute statement about the offense: "You got to be ready to think quickly," he said.
That is considered a strength of Barkley.
"As a quarterback, you generally have a lot of responsibilities. And in this offense, that's no different," Barkley said. "You have to act quickly. You have to be a sharp decision-maker."
Ertz said that Barkley "looked great" on the practice field and that it was the "same Matt Barkley I saw for four years."
Barkley said he is not merely pleased to be joining Vick and Foles but also plans on competing with them for the starting quarterback job.
He was not shy about saying that he is here to compete, and he tried to strike a balance between showing deferential respect to the veterans while still having the confidence of someone who has started every season in high school and college. He said he has already exchanged text messages with Foles and will see Vick this week.
Friday's attention showed that Barkley will not be treated like a typical fourth-round pick. But now that he's on the roster, it matters little when he was selected. He's determined to find the silver lining to his drop in the draft.
"Once you're here, there's always a silver lining," Barkley said. "I don't know what that might look like."