Miami wins again. The Colts lose again. Dolphins fans may think they have no Luck, literally and figuratively, but they may still find their answer at quarterback in the NFL Draft.
The answer: USC Trojans QB Matt Barkley.
The highly heralded quarterback was forced into action his freshman season, but has blossomed before our very eyes. Unfortunately for him, he has done so more off the radar than his predecessors at Southern Cal. USC’s troubles, coupled with Pete Carroll’s departure, have taken the Trojans out of the national spotlight. Barkley, however, looks very much like the success stories at quarterback under Carroll.
USC this decade has sent three quarterbacks, all first round picks, to the NFL. In fact, four QB’s from USC have made it, just note that Matt Cassel, who didn’t actually play as a Trojan, went from a 7th round flyer, to a Tom Brady fill-in, to a starting quarterback when given the chance.
The others, Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart, and Mark Sanchez laid the foundation in which Barkley has proudly carried on.
Barkley is having a fantastic junior season. The numbers are outstanding. He is completely 66.8% of his passes to the tune of 2782 yards, 29 TD’s and just 6 interceptions. What is more impressive about him is just watching him play. He’s smart. He’s poised. He makes good decisions. He doesn’t take sacks. He throws the ball away.
Steve Sarkisian, head coach at Washington, was the OC at USC when Barkley was recruited there. With that said, he made the statement, against the grain this past week, that he’d take Barkley over Luck. Bold for sure, but also speaks a little bit about how good Barkley has become.
I think Andrew Luck is bound for #1 and Indianapolis. Looking at the Colts schedule, it’s very hard to find 2-3 wins that would be necessary to jump them out of the bottom spot, especially when you consider their +/- for the season is -169 which is 59 points worse than the second worst team in the league.
So that leaves the #2 pick, and I think Matt Barkley should be the second pick in this draft.
Miami is very much alive for that pick. And even better, they may not need the second pick to get Barkley. Looking at the current standings, Miami is tied with Minnesota, Carolina, and St. Louis. The Vikings (Christian Ponder), Panthers (Cam Newton), and Rams (Sam Bradford) have all taken quarterbacks in the first round the last 2 years. Carolina and St. Louis took theirs #1 overall. So those teams don’t seem likely to take another quarterback.
Looking behind the Dolphins are the 3-win teams like Philly, Arizona, Seattle, Washington, Jacksonville, and Cleveland. The Seahawks, Redskins, and Browns would all definitely take Barkley I believe. The Jags (Blaine Gabbert) and Cardinals (Kevin Kolb) just invested in quarterbacks, but may consider it. The Eagles almost definitely would not after just breaking the bank for Mike Vick.
I don’t think Miami is done winning yet, but they could still end up in good position to take Barkley because of the young quarterbacks on the other bad teams in the league. Winning against Washington may hurt them ironically, but only time will determine that.
If Miami misses on both quarterbacks, then I believe they will have to look elsewhere. I don’t like Landry Jones, especially not in the first round. Miami may be forced into doing what the Browns did with Colt McCoy, giving a lesser touted quarterback a chance. Maybe a Kellen Moore would be presented with the opportunity. McCoy isn’t working out, but Andy Dalton has succeeded in Cincinnati.
Obviously, you’d like to avoid all that and just get the guy at top. I think the good news is while the Miami Dolphins haven’t had any luck since Marino left, and may not get Luck next year, the next best thing isn’t looking too bad.