Do you think this is a three-man race?
You're darn right he does.
"There is an open competition," Barkley said Monday as rookies and the Eagles five quarterbacks reported to training camp, "so whether you feel like it or not, it's there."
In truth, there isn't much there there. Not so much because Barkley isn't capable. We've yet to see him perform in pads or face an NFL defense. But more so because it just doesn't happen very often, especially for fourth-round draft picks and rookies stuck behind incumbent quarterbacks.
Vick and Foles certainly have their flaws. But the former has 58 victories as a starter in the NFL, including two in the postseason. And the latter, with a significantly shorter resume, has one win and at the very least showed that he can compete at this level.
The blond-headed Barkley has a clean slate, which in some NFL cities is the equivalent to winning three Super Bowls.
There is no need to rush Barkley. Would Kelly prefer that the first quarterback he drafted start as soon as possible? Possibly. If he's the future, some might say, then why not fast-forward now?
But Kelly didn't invest a high draft pick at quarterback. He saw good value in the fourth round and selected Barkley out of Southern Cal. Still, that isn't necessarily a large commitment. And he has Vick and Foles to buy him some time as Barkley develops.
And time is something that Kelly has. It may not be what first-time NFL coaches used to get. But this entire season - not six weeks of training camp and the preseason - will be about finding his quarterback of the future.
And if Kelly decides that he hasn't found his guy, then it's back to the drawing board and possibly the draft, which could be rich with franchise-caliber quarterbacks in April.
Barkley, though, has a head start. He's the lone quarterback of the three that Kelly did not inherit. And he has a coach that saw him up close for four seasons with the Trojans. General manager Howie Roseman said tape from spring workouts confirmed what the Eagles saw in college.
"He gets the ball out quickly. He's a distributor. He's like a really good point guard in basketball," Roseman said. "He knows where to go with the football, he makes good decisions, and then he's going to continue to grow and get better."
It wasn't very long ago that quarterbacks - even some drafted in the first round - were given a grace period to learn a system and develop their skills for the NFL. But the immediate success that top picks such as Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III and a third-rounder such as Russell Wilson had last season have unreasonably raised some expectations.
"I think I'm in a different situation from those guys who were drafted in the first round with an empty spot and it was theirs," Barkley said. "They've done some great things. I think the most similarities would be found with Russell. I've looked up to him for a while."
The 2012 draft was an anomaly, though. Eight of the first nine quarterbacks taken, including Foles, saw meaningful time and won at least one game as a rookie. But if you scroll through most of the previous drafts, there are less than a handful of quarterbacks taken after the first round that have started right out of the gate.
Wilson, of course, beat out Matt Flynn and guided the Seahawks to the playoffs. In 2004, there was Kyle Orton (fourth round) in Chicago, but he started only because Rex Grossman was injured in the preseason.
Chris Weinke (fourth round) won the Panthers job in 2001, but he was 29 and Carolina was terrible - 1-15 terrible. There aren't many other examples, at least in the modern era of the NFL.
There's always the minuscule chance Barkley could supplant Vick or Foles. Just because most of his predecessors didn't start right away shouldn't discount his chances. He said he can gain ground even if he's relegated to the third team for most of camp.
"I think you just have to prove every snap that you're capable of playing at this level," Barkley said. "And regardless of what team you're on just making the most of every rep."
But Barkley, despite his assuredness, should be more content with memorizing the playbook and learning from Vick and Foles than he should be with starting right away.
Despite the up-tempo speed in which Kelly does almost everything, the quarterback competition isn't a sprint.
Contact Jeff McLane at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter @Jeff_McLane.