Tag Archives: Matt Barkley

Someone’s Gonna Steal Matt Barkley

Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Matt Barkley has spend his whole life preparing for the NFL Draft.

The Kansas City Chiefs own the top pick in this year’s NFL Draft and they probably have no clue as to what they want to do with it.  Should they pick consensus future All-Pro in Texas A&M left tackle Luke Joeckel and trade their franchised left tackle Brandon Albert? Is former number one overall pick Alex Smith the long term solution at quarterback? Should they trade the pick for more picks in what is considered a mediocre to weak draft class?

The answer to all of these questions is a resounding NO!

I am 100 percent certain that Matt Barkley should be the number one pick in the NFL Draft. He has been training to be an NFL quarterback since he was in grade school and has had incredible success at every level of play thus far.

Barkley went to Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, California. Let’s just say the resumes of some of the alumni from this school would blow your mind, not only sports, but entertainment, government, and even religious leadership. Mater Dei has a rich football history that boasts not one, but two Heisman Trophy winning quarterbacks.  He was only the second player in the storied history of that football program to start at quarterback as a freshman.  The only other freshman to start for MDHS was “Robo-QB” Todd Marinovich (who has an incredible story that was brilliantly documented by ESPN’s 30 for 30 series).  Barkley started all four years in high school and broke Marinovich’s all-time school and county record for passing yards. Barkley is the only player to call his own plays since current Mater Dei head coach Bruce Rollinson took over in 1989. Barkley was a top recruit, committed to USC after his junior season, and was named Gatorade National Male High School Athlete of the Year in 2007. My point is that it’s safe to say that Matt Barkley has spent his formative years preparing for success in an environment that has a track record of breeding it.

The story doesn’t get much different when it comes to his career at USC.  Again, Barkley started as a freshman, and with the help of some really good teammates, dominated CFB from the jump.  Barkley was extremely impressive as a freshman, garnering praise from evaluators such as Mel Kiper Jr. who dubbed Barkley “the number one pick in the draft three years from now”.  It’s still fresh in the minds of college football fans, so I don’t have to go over all of Barkley’s incredible numbers and accomplishments at USC.  He stayed and started all four years and played brilliantly. There is enough tape on this kid to be able to see that he can make plays with the right talent around him.

Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Andy Reid takes over a Kansas City Chiefs team with three times as many Pro-Bowlers as they had wins last season.

The Kansas City Chiefs have some outstanding players on their roster.  Dwayne Bowe is an elite receiver when motivated and former first round pick Jon Baldwin has potential to be a nice compliment.  Jamaal Charles is a quality running back with big play capabilities, as is Dexter McCluster in a variety of roles. The Chiefs employ a Pro-Bowl player at each level of their defense with Eric Berry at safety, Derrick Johnson and Justin Houston at linebacker, and Tamba Hali at defensive end.  Dustin Colquitt made the Pro-Bowl as the best punter in the AFC, and believe me when I tell you that field position means a great deal in the NFL.

It’s incredible that the Chiefs won a mere two games last year with six Pro-Bowl players on the roster.  This goes to show you what a franchise quarterback means to an NFL team’s success. The Chiefs traded for Alex Smith this offseason.  I know better than most as to what Smith can and cannot do, for I’m a lifelong 49ers fan.  I supported the decision to draft Smith number one overall in ’05 and I still do to this day.  He is a fantastic football player, a very good NFL athlete, and a leader who takes care of the ball and makes quality football decisions.  He’s a quiet guy who had all the respect in the world from his former teammates and coaches. He’s faced and conquered adversity that most NFL players would never dream that they would have to deal with. He’s got heart and he’s tough.

But he’s not the answer the Chiefs are looking for moving forward.  The Chiefs should draft Matt Barkley number one overall and let him sit behind Smith for his rookie season.  Smith is the perfect transitional quarterback for Andy Reid because of his experiences in San Francisco, and I can guarantee he will win more than two games next season. This will allow Barkley to completely heal and strengthen his throwing shoulder (which is his number one “red flag” according to evaluators) in preparation to take over for KC in his second season NFL season.  I don’t know Matt Barkley personally, so maybe something about this kid’s personality doesn’t sit well with NFL brass, but from everything I’ve read about him and his brief history on this planet, to me, this is a no-brainer.  Barkley is the truth and one screwed up season in college doesn’t take away from everything else that he’s done to this point.  All signs points to greatness for Matt Barkley. Whoever lands him will have the most important position in sports locked up for years to come.

Lunch: Combine Preview Day 2 (QB, RB, WR)

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For those of you who live and breathe the NFL Scouting Combine, the day you have been waiting for is here!  Today is the day that the game changers, the exciting prospects hit the turf to vie for the top spots in the NFL draft, and the Orange Wedge is back to break down all that you need to know about the skill position players on the offensive side of the ball.  These are the prom kings in high school, the ones that got the front page spreads in the newspapers, and the ones that you, the fans, will be most excited about come draft time.  Breaking down the top players available up to this point, as well as some sleeper picks:

Quarterbacks:

Geno Smith (2012/Associated Press)

Geno Smith (2012/Associated Press)

 

Geno Smith, QB West Virginia

In this years overall weak quarterback class, Geno Smith sits atop the mountain of mediocrity as he has separated himself from the pack of quarterback prospects, and currently represents not only the top QB, but most likely number 1 overall pick to the Chiefs (Donovan McNabb 2.0?)  Smith measured in at 6’2″ 218 lbs., who has a strong arm and good speed.  For most of his career at WVU, he played out of the shotgun and made good timing reads in his routes, but did not take snaps under center and make reads while dropping back, including the use of proper footwork.  He had a great 2012 season statistically, throwing for 4,205 yds. 42 TDs and 6 INTS. I believe he will run and work out well, and scouts will be salivating over his workout numbers, including the 40, shuttle, and even bench press, but I think that scouts should instead be focusing on his field workouts.  Unlike most top quarterbacks at the combine, he actually is throwing and while he is throwing to unfamiliar targets, it should still be noted how his reads and accuracy are.  Overall, I don’t think that anything should happen here that drops him down from the spot he is currently at.  Even if he should struggle, I believe he will make it up at his pro day and be the top quarterback off the board come April.

Matt Barkley, QB Southern California

Rewind to a year ago, and we are discussing Matt Barkley going first overall to the Indianapolis Colts.  Instead he returned to school for one final year, and did nothing to impress scouts, so much so that it would appear he has thrown himself out of the first round of the draft altogether.  Barkley will be working out at the combine, but will not be participating in throwing drills, instead waiting for his pro day to throw and try to impress the scouts.  He measured in at 6’2″ 227 lbs. and it should be noted that his hand size measured at 10 1/8″, big hands and something that scouts will take notice of for gripping the ball in wet conditions.  His 2012 season included 3,273 yds. 36 TD and 15 INTS, not a great ratio for a big-time QB coming out of a big-time college program.  He most likely won’t run well, not impressing scouts with his speed and workouts, and unfortunately that is all the scouts and fans will have to go on after this weekend until the USC pro day comes around.  I believe that Barkley not throwing today will hurt him and drop his draft spot.

Tyler Wilson, QB Arkansas

A quarterback who may be a bit more under the radar than the other two top prospects, Wilson up until this point looks to be vying for the spot of second QB taken in the draft.  The thrower who grew up in Razorback nation had a very successful season leading Arkansas to success this season.  That doesn’t mean, though, that he will stick around as the next best option off the board. He measured into Indy at 6’2″ 215 lbs. but will take a huge knock with his hand size, a measly 8 3/4″, much like this familiar figure:

His 2012 season was successful, throwing for 3,387 yds. 21 TDs and 13 INTs, not great numbers for a top QB.  His workouts will say a lot about his today, as he will not show great speed, but will display great quickness, a trait that represents his good pocket presence.  I believe that his choosing to throw can only help him as he will show decent accuracy, but strong arm strength, something that can’t be taught.  Overall though, I believe he will fall behind other QB’s after today.

Other Top Names:

  • Mike Glennon, QB NC State
  • Ryan Nassib, QB Syracuse

Under the Radar:

  • Zac Dysert, QB Miami (OH)
  • E.J. Manuel, QB Florida State
  • Tyler Bray, QB Tennessee

Running Backs:

This years running back class, while not top heavy with the can’t-miss players, it does happen to be a deep class, with most of the running backs slated in the end of the first round and on.  That can change drastically depending on how some of these players run and work out in Indy today, with one good 40 time possibly being the difference between a second round selection and a selection in the top of the first round (see: Chris Johnson 2008).  Many of these running backs are very high quality with a lot of NFL upside, but may be missing one or two qualities according to scouts who followed them all season long. Highlighting the running backs are:

Giovani Bernard (2012/Erin Hull/Daily Tar Heel)

Giovani Bernard (2012/Erin Hull/Daily Tar Heel)

Giovani Bernard, RB North Carolina

This running back from the ACC displays a ton of upside and could be the running back that everyone is talking about following this year’s scouting combine.  Built a lot like Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew, Bernard measured in at the comine at 5’8″ 202 lbs. but is built like a racehorse.  He had a good 2012 season rushing for 1,228 yards and 12 TDs in a pass-heavy North Carolina offense, and I am predicting that Bernard will run the fastest 40 time for the running backs this year.  The knock against him (as I said there is a knock against most of these prospects) is the torn ACL he suffered in 2010 combined with his short, quick running style including multiple cuts and quick change of direction.  When teams ask him about this, all he needs to say is: “Exhibit A: Adrian Peterson.”  I believe Bernard will answer all the questions about him and more in Indy, running well, showing good quickness and burst, and even catching the ball well enough to warrant a top 20 pick in the first round of the draft.  He will be the talk of the backs this year.

Eddie Lacy, RB Alabama

It seems like Alabama running backs are a dime a dozen, with the National Champs churning them out like butter in the old country.  A huge work-horse type back, Lacy measured in at 5’11” 231 lbs., 10 lbs. up from his playing weight during the season.  This is a red flag to scouts, and teams will keep a close eye on how Lacy added this weight, whether he looks more muscular and stronger, or whether he still has yet to stop celebrating after the victory parade.  Either way, Lacy had a strong season for the Crimson Tide, running for 1,322 yards and 17 TDs.  The strengths of his game unfortunately will not show up at the combine, unless he runs a fast 40 time, as his style revolves around his ability to put his head and shoulders down and run you over.  Decent in the passing game, better blocker than receiver, I don’t see him taking the necessary step forward to sneak into first-round conversations.

Other Top Names:

  • Joseph Randle, RB Oklahoma State
  • Andre Ellington, RB Clemson

Under the Radar:

  • Montee Ball, RB Wisconsin
  • Jawan Jamison, RB Rutgers
  • Miguel Maysonet, RB Stony Brook

Wide Receivers:

I think that the talk of the draft this year will be the entire wide receiver class, as the pass-catchers will blow the combine away, and we will see a lot of names sneak into the first round or first round discussions after this weekend.  It is always debated whether it is worth taking a wide receiver early in the draft as their impact on a game solely depends on other pieces working around them, but I truly believe that this year’s class will be one of the top overall WR classes in recent memory.  Starting off:

Cordarrelle Patterson (2012/Associated Press)

Cordarrelle Patterson (2012/Associated Press)

Cordarrelle Patterson, WR Tennessee

The undisputed top wide out throughout this season, I guarantee you nothing will change after this weekend, and Patterson will solidify his place as the top pass-catcher this year, more than likely going in the top 10, potentially top 5.  Patterson measured in at Indy at 6’2″ 216 lbs. with 9″ hands and put on 10 pounds of muscle since the season ended, a perfect body type for a number 1 wide receiver. He has great straight-line speed and separation ability and catches the ball with his hands, something that will be on display in the gauntlet which separates the men from the boys.  As a wide receiver alone he did not have a record setting year statistically, hauling inn 46 receptions for 775 yds. an 5 TDs.  He has done a lot of damage in the return game, though, as he was used in multiple facets in the game at Tennessee, being used at RB, PR, and KR.  He set the school record for all-purpose yards in a season with 1,858, and I believe will continue this damage at the next level.

Keenan Allen, WR California

Keenan Allen is a player that has been turning many heads throughout the season, as he displays great in-game speed and has given defenses in the Pac-12 headaches all season long.  He came into Indy measuring in at 6’2″ 206 lbs, and measured up with 10″ hands! Scouts will absolutely take notice of that and will make sure that he can pluck the ball away from his body, which shouldn’t be much of a problem with those hulk hands.  Allen will display good speed, running in the 4.5-4.6 range, but will be on display in the 3-cone drills demonstrating quickness and change of direction.  I believe, though, that this receiver class is very strong and Allen has a chance to slide, not because of his own abilities, but because of the workouts of other players in Indy.  Like I said, this class is crazy strong.

Other Top Names:

  • DeAndre Hopkins, WR Clemson
  • Quinton Patton, WR Louisiana Tech
  • Tavon Austin, WR West Virginia

*UPDATE* Not surprising, but Austin just blazed the field running a crazy fast time of 4.25!  The undersized receiver who caught passes this year from Geno Smith measured in petite at 5’8″ 174 lbs. but teams will quickly forget about that when they begin designing plays around this PF Flyer.  I knew Austin would have a strong combine so this time does not surprise me, but with him being a fringe first/second rounder coming into this weekend, I believe that this catapulted him into the end of the first round, and potentially the second receiver off the board.

Under the Radar:

  • Terrence Williams, WR Baylor
  • Da’Rick Rodgers, WR Tennessee Tech
  • Marquice Goodwin, WR Texas

*UPDATE* Showdown city as Goodwin decided to say to Tavon Austin so what with his time, as Goodwin scooted another 4.25 40 time.  Al Davis just contacted Reggie McKenzie and Dennis Allen from beyond the grave and said “Take this kid in the first round!”