We’re three months away from judgement day for college football’s 2012 graduating class, and Sports Illustrated has wasted no time, releasing their first Mock Draft of the year today. Of note is USC quarterback Matt Barkley being pegged as going seventh overall to the Arizona Cardinals.
The Cardinals have other options to fix their quarterback issues, perhaps by trading for Alex Smith or Matt Flynn. But if their division rivals in San Francisco or Seattle won’t play ball with them, the Cardinals might talk themselves into Barkley, who was presumed to be a slam-dunk top five pick in 2012, had he not opted to return to USC for what proved to be a damaging senior season. Some don’t consider Barkley a first-round talent any more, but let’s see what happens once the NFL digs into his tape.
Should Barkley get drafted by the Cardinals, it would be all too reminiscent of Matt Leinart’s selection back in 2006. Then, it was the Oakland Raiders that passed him up. With Barkley, going seventh to Arizona would be a gain after a senior year that saw an increase in interceptions and a premature ending due to an AC sprain that left him in the second round by some accounts.
Other players worth mentioning include Stanford tight end Zach Ertz going 20th to the Chicago Bears and Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o going 31st to the Baltimore Ravens.