Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Barkley has gone undrafted through the first three rounds of the 2013 NFL Draft. The former USC quarterback now enters the fourth round along with fellow former first round hopeful, Ryan Nassib, as the biggest name still on the board. To quote David Puddy, “Yeah, that’s right.” Where will he go, now? Let’s break it down.
Should Pick Barkley:
Jacksonville (Pick No. 98): The last time the Jaguars drafted a star college quarterback, Blaine Gabbert, the pressure ate him up. The Gabbert experiment has been terrible, so why not take Barkley, who will be under less scrutiny in Jacksonville than LA, while still being capable of winning the No. 1 job? With Luke Joeckel in hand and a cornerback need secured with Jonathan Cyprien and Dwayne Gratz, taking a now low financial risk on Barkley makes a ton of sense. Now, what’s interesting, is that the Jaguars have the opportunity of trading their fourth round pick at No. 98 to either Arizona or Miami, who both have two picks in the round. The Jaguars still have plenty of needs to fill, and if they could trade their pick and drop down to Miami’s 104th and 106th picks, or Arizona’s 103rd and 110th, they could potentially draft a quarterback(Barkley or Nassib) and still fill another need at the same time, assuming at least one of the two slip past Kansas City and Oakland at Nos. 99 and 100.
Arizona (Picks No. 103 and No. 110) Every time the Cardinals get put on the clock, it seems as though they’re about to pick Barkley. Head coach Bruce Arians made a living coaching Ben Roethlisberger, and if you take height out of the equation, there are some similarities between Barkley and Big Ben. They’re both reckless at times, while having a knack for trying to live on the deep ball, while specializing in short range passes. Carson Palmer will start come September for the Cardinals, but he and Arians could sure sculpt Barkley into a solid pro, just as Arians coached Andrew Luck last season. Arizona has two picks in the round, and if they packaged those together, they could move up the draft board to nab Barkley at any spot between Jacksonville at No. 99 and Philadelphia at No. 101.
Could Pick Barkley:
Oakland (Pick No. 100): The Raiders always need a quarterback because they have been routinely terrible at managing them. Unless they truly believe that Terrell Pryor is the long term answer –he’s not, though the success of RGIII and Russell Wilson could internally convince them of it– they could use another quarterback to challenge the unproven Matt Flynn for the starting job in lieu of the Carson Palmer trade.
Tennessee Titans (Pick No. 107): Jake Locker completed 56 percent of his passes in 2012. That was a career high. Add in the fact that the Titans only have Ryan Fitzpatrick, Rusty Smith and Nathan Enderle on the roster behind Locker, and it’s easy to see how Barkley just may have fallen down enough to entice Tennessee into seeing greener pastures at quarterback. If Barkley is available as just a fourth round gamble to challenge Locker, why not pull that trigger?
May Pick Barkley:
Pittsburgh (Pick No. 115): Ben Roethlisberger might be the NFL’s biggest injury liability at quarterback. Also, as mentioned earlier, he’s a player that is similar to Barkley in ways. With Roethlisberger being 31, and an old 31 at that, Barkley could be a better option as a No. 2 quarterback than Bruce Gradkowski and John Parker Wilson, who both scream ‘meh’.
Shouldn’t Pick Barkley:
Philadelphia (Pick No. 101): Even with Michael Vick, the Eagles need a quarterback. They met with Barkley at the NFL Combine back in February, but Chip Kelly needs a Chip Kelly quarterback, even in the NFL. Kelly has made it clear that he’s going to rotate quarterbacks and play an up-tempo game as he did at Oregon. That really doesn’t sound like a game built for Matt Barkley now, does it?
Won’t Pick Barkley:
Buffalo (Pick No. 105): Last year, the Washington Redskins surprised many by taking Robert Griffin III in the first round and Kirk Cousins in the fourth round. This year, the Bills could do that exact same thing should they take Barkley or Nassib at No. 105, after taking E.J. Manuel in the first round. However, they already have Kevin Kolb and Tarvaris Jackson on their roster, both of whom would be above average second and third quarterbacks should Manuel win the job in training camp. Buffalo needs help in the secondary, and that’s far more important than drafting Matt Barkley as a luxury.