There’s something about Matt
I’m a little bit confused by the way people are reporting Matt Barkley’s pro-potential. The most bizarre thing I think I’ve read all year was Todd McShay’s justification for having him at #22 on his big board. Here’s how McShay described Barkley:
Barkley is a natural leader with a high football IQ and good short-to-intermediate accuracy and touch and a quick release and adequate arm strength to make all the NFL throws
That sounds pretty good to me, just what the Seahawks and several other teams could use right now. Such is the importance of the quarterback position, I don’t believe you can judge them in the same way as other players. To me, if you don’t have a franchise quarterback and a player is worth taking in round one it doesn’t matter whether that’s 2nd overall or 22nd you draft the guy. Once you invest that round one pick in a quarterback, you’re making a statement that this is your man. The implementation of a rookie pay scale increases that belief, making any round one quarterback completely affordable and removing some of the previous horrific cap-crisis risk.
If there’s a quarterback with high football IQ, who’s a natural leader, with good accuracy, touch and a quick release with the arm strength to make all the NFL throws (McShay’s words) why isn’t he in the top ten?
To compound matters, McShay also has some strange picks ahead of Barkley. Melvin Ingram (DE, South Carolina) has made some big plays this year, no question about it. However, he’s 6-2 / 270lbs and looks like an undersized defensive tackle. He has no obvious role in the NFL, he’s a classic tweener. Sure, he’s athletic for his size and he’s created a bit of a niche for himself with the Gamecocks, but a round one pick? Really?
What about another player in Courtney Upshaw (DE/OLB, Alabama) described by McShay as, “a DE/OLB tweener who won’t fit in with all teams.” Alameda Ta’amu (NT, Washington) is above Barkley, so is talented but problematic Janoris Jenkins (CB, North Alabama).
There’s no rhyme or reason to the Barkley grade especially given the glowing review that accompanies it. I suspect it’s because there’s a fashionable opinion right now to describe Barkley as an unspectacular athlete. Only this weekend Wes Bunting at the NFP tweeted, “USC QB Matt Barkley isn’t the most gifted kid, but is in complete control of offense.” How do we define gifted these days? Arm strength and running ability? Cam Newton had lots of that, but strangely a number of high profile pundits (read: nearly every single one of them) held back from pumping his tires last year because he lacked a lot of the plus points Barkley has such as the technique and football IQ.
It bemuses me why there’s such a difference of opinion on Barkley, who looks every bit a brilliant QB prospect to me just in different ways to the Newton’s of this world. Maybe I’ll be proven wrong down the line and he won’t live up to the expectations I have for his career. However, I firmly believe that if he declares and the Seahawks are fortunate enough to be in position to draft him next April they shouldn’t be thinking about any other player in the draft. With Pete Carroll running the show, at least the best qualified person to judge Barkley is making the final call – whether he’s drafted by the Seahawks or not.
**To see game tape of Matt Barkley leading USC to victory over rivals Notre Dame last Saturday, check the video at the top of this blog post courtesy of JMPasq**
Seahawks would pick 8th
If the season ended today (FAO those who watched the Browns game – it won’t) the Seahawks would own the 8th overall pick according to our friends at NE Patriots Draft. The following teams would be picking before Seattle: Indianapolis, St. Louis, Miami, Minnesota, Arizona, Jacksonville and Carolina.
The most important question is how many of those realistically would be in the market for a quarterback and it’s pretty clear the answer is two. That could change if the Colts don’t own the #1 pick because they won’t necessarily look for the next best quarterback if they miss out on Andrew Luck. If a similar scenario presented itself next April it would be in Seattle’s best interests for Miami to pick first, take Luck away from Indianapolis and potentially giving the Seahawks a realistic shot at whichever quarterback they rank #2 on the board.
On Sunday I was in London to watch the Chicago-Tampa Bay game at Wembley. Using two phones (my battery died) I kept up with the Seahawks game, leading to a very disappointing four hour journey home afterwards knowing Cleveland had won my a meagre 6-3 scoreline. This is still a team in rebuilding mode, but I came away with two striking conclusions (I had a lot of time to think during that four hours)…
Firstly, the Seahawks are the worst kind of bad team at the moment. The injuries are mounting up, yet there’s still enough quality there to win football games. Seattle’s in that middle ground area, seemingly out of realistic playoff consideration (unless San Francisco implodes) but not awful enough to grab a top-five pick. There’s still two games against hopeless St. Louis and a further encounter with the equally poor Cardinals. Home games against Washington and Cincinnati are certainly manageable. Seven wins wouldn’t be a total shock, but it’s not going to be enough to fluke a playoff berth this year. I’m not one of those people who wants the team to deliberately lose for draft position – evidenced by the fact I’m travelling 5000 miles to Seattle this weekend for the Bengals game. However, if it’s a case of picking 8th or 15th come the end of the season, the team would significantly benefit more by owning the earlier pick.
We all know why and that brings me on to point two…
This team absolutely cannot for any longer delay the acquisition of a long term quarterback. Let’s beat this drum until it bursts. No more stop gaps, no more trades or re-treads picked up in free agency. Next off season will be the introduction to year three of this regime and front office – it’s time they put their faith and investment in ‘their guy’. If it costs picks to move up, so be it. It will be unacceptable if this team doesn’t address that situation next April. Of course, we may review this if Matt Barkley and a lot of the other underclassmen simply don’t declare because the team can’t draft a guy who’s not physically available. However, if everyone declares as expected it’s time to end this tiresome debate once and for all.
Congratulations to Austin Davis
Regulars will know I rate Southern Miss quarterback Austin Davis very highly indeed. This week not only did he lead his team to a great win over SMU, he was also named as a finalist for the CLASS award which is given to a NCAA FBS senior who has notable achievements in four areas: community, classroom, character and competition. Davis has already graduated with a degree in business administration and has broken many of Brett Favre’s old records for the Golden Eagles.
We’re striving to supply more Southern Miss tape this year to try and raise awareness for a player who really deserves a lot more attention than he’s getting.
Logan Harrell continues to impact games
Another sleeper who deserves more credit is Fresno State defensive lineman Logan Harrell. He had another sack at the weekend in Fresno’s loss to Nevada. In 1.8 seasons for the Bulldogs, Harrell has 15.5 sacks and a cluster of tackles for a loss. He’s constantly in the backfield and although he doesn’t carry elite size to play inside, he’ll have a role in the NFL predominantly as a five-technique who can move inside on third downs.
Harrell is also the proud owner of a world class moustache, which warrants an even higher grade than usual.