Tony Pauline (SI.com & Draft Insider) is reporting that Matt Barkley will announce his intention to declare for the 2012 NFL Draft in the near future. This is significant news, considering the implications it’ll have on another big-name USC prospect. Offensive tackle Matt Kalil was reported to be returning to Southern California last week, before he denied the report and stated he was still undecided. If Barkley declares, Kalil almost certainly will too – there’s little point turning down the chance to be a top-three NFL draft pick to block for an unproven quarterback, bowl game or not.
It’d also be significant in confirming there will be at least one consolation prize when Andrew Luck goes first overall. With Robert Griffin III also expected to enter the draft after winning the Heisman, there’s going to be three legitimate quarterback prospects taken within the first fifteen picks next April.
Whether Seattle can get their hands on one remains to be seen…
It’ll be interesting to monitor developments in Miami and Kansas City after both teams fired their head coaches today. Matt Moore, the current Dolphins starter, had ties to Tony Sparano when the pair worked in Dallas during the 2007 season. Moore has done fairly well as the starter, but surely Miami is looking for a big ticket quarterback to finally end the cursed post-Dan Marino era? If they appoint a young, upcoming offensive coordinator to be their Head Coach (especially one with a history of developing young quarterbacks) it could be a big hint towards their intentions in the draft. Kansas City could show a vote of confidence in the quarterbacks already on their roster if they appoint Josh McDaniels (who worked with Matt Cassel in New England) or Kirk Ferentz (who coached Ricky Stanzi at Iowa).
In both cases, the teams are keeping the GM’s who overlooked their last few drafts. Unlike the recent makeovers in Seattle or Denver, this isn’t a complete regime change. That could also play some part in determining what happens in the draft, especially with the Chiefs who invested a considerable sum in Matt Cassel succeeding.
Victory tonight for the Seahawks and they’ll have possession of the 14th overall pick. Washington, Miami, Cleveland and Kansas City would all be picking ahead of Seattle. Although optimistic fans will point towards an unlikely route into the playoffs, it does appear the Seahawks are going to miss out on a post-season berth without the bonus of a pick high enough to draft one of the three solid quarterback prospects.
Stand by for months of speculation and calculation as fans try to work out if a trade up the board is possible or likely.