When the NFL Draft kicked off two days ago, one of the questions everyone had on their minds was where three-time USC captain Matt Barkley would be drafted. Some thought he could be a first round talent given the sheer number of teams looking at a quarterback while others thought he would be a second round choice.
Turns out Matt Barkley was neither of these things as after completing three rounds of the NFL Draft, Barkley is still available and it would appears as though the need for a quarterback this year was grossly overestimated. This puts us in a situation where once top prospects are taking massive slides down the draft and in Barkley’s case it’s quickly becoming a case of if, not when someone will draft him.
Chances are that someone is going to pull the trigger and draft the Trojans’ product. His scouting report is pretty beak compared to where he should be at this point in his career, but there’s upside — just not as much as people thought. Plus, despite passing on a quarterback earlier in the draft or even if a team already has, the deeper we get into the late rounds of the draft the more value Barkley gets. After all, this is a three-time USC captain here, it’s not like we’re trying to draft Giovanni Caramazzi.
So who are some potential teams that could end up taking Barkley and what’s their motivation for doing so. Note that at a certain point in the draft, say the late-fifth round/early sixth, Barkley begins to be a value pick for anyone in the draft and he’s not a guy that will go undrafted. Bill Belichick will make damn sure of that.
Jacksonville Jaguars (No. 98, 135, 169, 208)– The Jaguars again are the most likely team to select Matt Barkley, not only because they pick first on Saturday but because they need a quarterback. But this may be a situation we’re over-exaggerating, as management has been fine with passing on all the quarterback prospects so far including Geno Smith, who was a guy many people believed Jacksonville was in love with. Don’t be surprised at all to see the Jaguars pass on Barkley at the top of the fourth-round. Probability: 45%
Kansas City Chiefs (No. 99, 134, 170, 204, 207) — Here’s another team who has seen it’s quarterback situation grossly over-exaggerated. After trading for Alex Smith this offseason, the Chiefs seems content rolling into the season the way they are in terms of what’s going on at quarterback. Again, if Barkley falls into the fifth round, Kansas City might re-evaluate things, but don’t expect them to move around to try and draft Barkley. Probability: 25%
Buffalo Bills (No. 105, 143, 177, 222)– When the Bill selected E.J. Manuel, they did so thinking he can be a Robert Griffin III type of player for them. But what we might see is Buffalo double-dipping on quarterbacks, much like the Redskins did last season with both RGIII and Michigan State’s Kirk Cousins. However, while this is a good strategy, Doug Marrone will take Ryan Nassib before he takes Barkley so I’d bet on Barkley going to Buffalo only if Nassib is gone and at that point he may not even be worth it to them. Probability: 15%
Cleveland Browns (No. 111, 164, 175, 217, 227) — The Cleveland Browns apparently aren’t sold on Brandon Weeden leading the team into the future and Mike Lombardi wants a quarterback he feels comfortable with. Barkley is a guy that the Browns have passed on, but mainly because they don’t have many picks until the later rounds. Armed with five picks in the last four rounds, the Browns could very well take Barkley to be a quarterback project with Rob Chudzinski. Probability: 50%
Oakland Raiders (No. 100, 172, 176, 205, 209) — Oakland passed on Geno Smith, they didn’t take Barkley on the second day and they still could look at adding depth at quarterback. After trading Carson Palmer and acquiring Matt Flynn, the Raiders remain candidates to take the local kid Barkley. Flynn might not be too cool with having another new team of his draft a quarterback right after acquiring him, but Oakland needs depth and Barkley provides that. Plus, Oakland is crazy. Probability: 15%
Minnesota Vikings (No. 120, 155, 189, 213, 214) — You can see the trend here that teams looking to draft Barkley don’t need him in a pressing way. The Vikings are in the same boat as the Jaguars are in that they have a young quarterback they took in the first round of the draft a few years ago and may not be looking to add another one this year. But patience is wearing thin with Christian Ponder, and if Barkley slips to that 189th pick, the Vikings will consider him. That’s the perfect scenario all teams will be in as once the fifth, and especially the sixth and seventh rounds roll around, Barkley becomes an instant value selection.