Barkley was chosen with the 98th overall pick. Philadelphia gave Jacksonville a fourth-round pick (101) and a seventh-rounder (210) to move ahead of Kansas City and take Barkley.
"We're going to take the best value on the board," Kelly said, adding the Eagles rated Barkley in the top 50. "There's a prime example. The best value on the board by far was Matt. He's an extremely mature young man, intelligent, articulate. He has that 'it' factor."
Former Eagles coach Andy Reid, now the Chiefs' coach, likely would've taken Barkley at 99 and also tried to move up to get him at 98.
"I wasn't going to be on the board long today, and the Chiefs were definitely looking to trade up, but the Eagles beat them to it," Barkley said.
Barkley could've been a top-five pick if he left school after his junior year, but he returned as a Heisman Trophy front-runner with a chance to lead USC to a national championship. Neither happened, and Barkley finished his career watching his teammates play in a bowl game from the sideline with his arm in a sling after sustaining a shoulder injury.
"I try not to get stressed about things I can't control," Barkley said when asked about his drop in the draft. "I'm just glad I know where my home is, and I can't wait to hit the playbook."
Barkley rewrote the conference record book during a USC-record 47 starts over four seasons, becoming the Pac-12's leader in touchdown passes, yards passing, completions and total offense. He impressed Kelly in four games against Oregon.
"I've seen his skill-set up close and personal four times, and he's answered the bell four times," said Kelly, who left Oregon to join the Eagles after Reid was fired following a 4-12 season.