Seahawks should do what it takes for Matt Barkley

November 27th, 2011 | Written by Rob Staton

Matt Barkley celebrates one of six touchdowns against UCLA (AP Photo/Jae Hong)

Matt Barkley ended his and USC’s season last night by beating UCLA 50-0. The performance included six touchdowns and just seven incompletions (you can see highlights here), passing Matt Leinart’s single season conference record for touchdowns in the process. He’ll finish the year with a 39/7 touchdown-to-interception ratio, completing 69% of his passes for 3528 yards.

In August I questioned whether Barkley was the #1 overall prospect eligible for the 2012 draft. He won’t go first overall – Andrew Luck has that tied up – but the last few weeks have reignited my belief that Barkley may be the superior talent. He’s at least Luck’s equal. Yes, he’s throwing to two extremely talented receivers. However, to suggest USC’s offensive depth is greater than Stanford’s would be a mistake. The Cardinal have an elite college offensive line and pro-level tight ends. Both quarterbacks benefit from their surroundings, but also get the most out of their supporting casts.

Luck is a fine talent and one that richly deserves a lot of the praise he’s received during the last two years. However, assuming Luck is perfect has stopped people really breaking down his game this year. In the last few weeks he’s not looked as sharp especially when dealing with pressure. He was sacked just twice prior to an overtime victory against Barkley and USC – since then he’s looked a little skittish in the pocket as teams use the Trojans’ example to create a pass rush against Stanford’s line. We should temper the expectations for Luck slightly and I’ll be reviewing the tape of his last four games in a few days. At the same time, Barkley has deserved more consistent praise throughout this season.

National draft pundits haven’t given him enough hype. Todd McShay’s first big board had Barkley in the 20’s as a late first rounder. His most recent piece had him as the #2 quarterback behing Luck and within the top-six players- something that should’ve been the case from the start. It’s perhaps worth a mention that McShay’s latest board also listed Whitney Mercilus as a 360lbs nose tackle with a description to match – he was said to be a two-gap nose tackle. It’s since been changed.

A lot of the knocks on Barkley were about physical restrictions, yet we see perfectly placed downfield passes against the Bruins (he had 41, 42 and 52 yard touchdown passes). He’s technically as good as any quarterback I’ve scouted. For a breakdown, check out this tape review piece I wrote on USC’s victory against Oregon.

So why is Barkley perfect for the Seahawks? There are many reasons. Pete Carroll needs a quarterback to hang his hat on for the long term, someone who can define his offense in his last big shot at the NFL. Why not a player he knows better than anyone? The Seahawks need someone who can start quickly without needing major technical adjustments – Barkley in my eyes could start in week one of his rookie season and enjoy similar success to Matt Ryan’s first term in Atlanta. Seattle’s offense has some developing talent and the offensive line is young, it needs someone who can pull everything together and turn it into a unit that can compete with the best in the league.  Barkley is capable of all of these things.

Sure, it would be an expensive trade. It could mean trading into the top-five picks from a position in the mid-first round, similar to the last USC quarterback drafted in round one. It could cost more than one first round pick, or at least a large portion of the 2012 draft. So be it. The Seahawks need to be aggressive in this situation. It’s not to say they’re a quarterback away from an elite squad, but the next step in getting to that position will be finding that guy. It’s the team’s biggest need. Waiting until 2013 will just be delaying the inevitable at a time when the best quarterback may be Virginia Tech’s Logan Thomas – a significant drop off to the Luck and Barkley’s available next year.

Of course Barkley will need to decide whether he’s going to even enter the draft, but he’s ready for the NFL. Becoming a legend at USC sounds great on paper, but not as good as becoming a legend in the NFL. Staying with the Trojans will come with an injury risk. If he does enter the draft, it’ll present a rare opportunity for a team to get a #1 talent at quarterback without needing to acquire the #1 pick. Barkley can start quickly for the Seahawks and can take them to where Carroll, Paul Allen and this fan base wants to go. Having been aggressive in their acquisition of Charlie Whitehurst and having flirted with the possibility of trading for Kevin Kolb and Carson Palmer – the Seahawks need to maintain that conviction next April and find a way to draft Matt Barkley.

**NOTE**
After today’s depressing loss at home to Washington, where the Redskins scored 16 unanswered points after the Seahawks led 17-7, perhaps this article should be changed to, “Seattle should just draft Barkley when they have the chance”?

21 Responses to “Seahawks should do what it takes for Matt Barkley”

  1. USAFANARC says:

    I could not agree more. I don’t care how many draft picks it takes at this point. We have to draft top level talent and Barkley is that guy. I’ve watched Stanford and USC games for the last few weeks (not as a fan of either team…Go Badgers!) but to watch the quarterbacks. I think Barkley is a better QB than Luck. Both have great supporting casts, but Barkley just seems to throw a better ball. I hope that Pete realizes that he can’t risk his last chance in the NFL on stop-gap QB’s like TJ. Don’t get me wrong, I think TJ has done an admirable job in the stop-gap role, but he is not our future. Give me Barkley, no matter the cost!

  2. Colin says:

    The new injury to AP is suddenly a great thing for us… Minnesota could make a great trade partner and without AP, they aren’t winning many games down the stretch.

  3. kevin mullen says:

    Barkley was re-dunk-u-lous yesterday (to borrow a term from Rob’s boy Stuart Scott). His last on field performance couldn’t have been scripted better for him and hopefully he makes that jump to the next level, wearing ‘Hawk blue.

    I also agree that Barkley handles pressure from the pocket far better than Luck, and its a testament to the OLines from each team. Recently Steve Sarkisian was interviewed by ESPN radio here in L.A. and was asked that if he had a choice either Luck or Barkley, he’d choose Barkley hands down. Not only from the obvious of his SC days but he mentioned that Barkley’s awareness from the pocket is probably under-valued and over-looked.

    Yes Pete, please trade the farm to get this guy and grab Sark from UW while you’re at it…

  4. Jarhead says:

    I already made my wishes known last night in a post, but I will reiterate: Barkley or Bust. This is THE guy. I don’t get awes by many football performances nowadays, but last night was special. And he appears to be a level-headed down to earth man. No Ryan Leaf, and no Rick Mirer lack of mental toughness or immaturity is visible. So in my opinion, it’s time to pull the trigger. Barkley would do tenfold more for us than any draft picks we gave up for him could do combined together. I am actually excited again about the future of the Hawks, because in my gut I feel like this option is very realistic

  5. Minnesota may be our only chance to trade up. Washington and Cleveland need a QB, Carolina looks to be pulling together a bit, and Arizona and St. Louis sure aren’t going to hoist us up into Barkley range.

  6. JoeMcK says:

    The reality is that Carroll & Schnieder have a young team and are getting these young guys on the field to get experience and see what they have. If you look around the team there are really no positions that need new starters other than QB (and maybe FB). You don’t draft a first rounder or even a second rounder to fill in depth. Trade those two picks (more if nec.) to go up and get Barkley. It really does not make sense to do anything else. Arguments can be made for depth at O-line and DE and LB and maybe at S, but the starter that really needs a guaranteed upgrade is QB. I am confident the Hawks will do what they need to do to move up and get Barkley.

  7. seanmatt says:

    I would love to see Barkley drafted by the Hawks but I just don’t see us having the ammo to do it. The Rams will most likely have the second pick in the draft and have a new coach and GM who might want to trade down to grab more players. How can we out bid the Browns , who have two firsts this year alone, for a QB that you have think Holmgren has gotta love? How many future picks would we need to trade in order to get our divisional rival to do a deal with us? I just can’t see how it would happen. Heck, even if it’s the Vikings that we deal with how do we outbid a team with 2 firsts this year?

  8. Mr Fish says:

    Sobering thoughts, seanmatt.

    Let’s hope the Rams start winning or that the Browns use their draft capital to swing a deal with the Colts instead.

  9. seanmatt says:

    I feel like us fans focusing too much on Luck and Barkley is like the kinda guy who always has the hots for chicks that are out of his league. It’s just gonna lead to heartbreak, man. I think that Rob’s take on Barkley is totally on the money and he’s gonna be the number two pick in the draft come April. Gotta hope that Holmy’s ego about his ability to groom non elite QB’s is floating really high for us to have a chance. But then again I’ve always been more reasonable than that.

  10. Ryan says:

    I’m buoyed by the hope that Cleveland will realize they’re more than one guy away from contending, that they’re going to need a lot more talent, and that they should keep both picks.

    Or, that Indy trades their pick.

  11. SteadyHawk says:

    What makes anyone think that Holmgren is going to axe McCoy? Don’t you guys remember how loyal he is to his players, especially the ones he drafts himself? Browns fans I have chatted with seem to really like McCoy and feel he’s the least of their issues. I see Holmgren going Trent Richardson/David DeCastro with his two first round picks.

    The thing we have going for us is that Carroll is a competitor. Pete said they had to really compete to get Doug Baldwin, so if Barkley is their target then I figure they will go all out.

    Awesome blog BTW.

  12. Kip Earlywine says:

    Something they teach you in the first day of economics 101: Price is determined by supply and demand.

    Demand figures to be high. It always is. But what if come next April there is a legitimate debate about which of Barkley or Luck is the real top quarterback? That doesn’t change the fact that both will be top 5 picks, but it does change the asking price for Luck at #1. Teams that trade up to #1 usually pick in the top 5 themselves, and they simply won’t pay much, if anything, if they know Barkley could be probably be had with no extra cost at all.

    That leads me to believe that Luck won’t be costing an exorbitant amount as many believe, but more in line with what the Giants paid for Eli Manning (which was also due in part to the presence of Rivers and Big Ben). That might cause Indy to just say screw it and draft Luck for themselves. Barkley’s late season surge may have hurt Seattle’s chances of getting him, but its added a nice degree of complexity to the top few picks.

  13. Darnell says:

    Love Barkley, want him badly on the Hawks. Griffin III is a heck of a consolation prize – I’m sold on him too. I think he declares, he’s been in school long enough and was talking law school only prior to emerging as a viable NFL prospect.

  14. mysteryman says:

    hey rob, off topic question here but i was wondering if the hawks had any kind of player tryouts or something along those lines?

  15. akki says:

    Yes, the Seahawks should do whatever they can to get Barkley. And yes by the time of the draft, the fanbases of the Dolphins, Redskins, Browns, and Cardinals will also expect their front offices to do the same or else be deemed incompetent or too conservative. I’m thinking like seanmatt. We want Barkley, the front office might want Barkley really badly, and it still might not be enough to get him.

    It surely doesn’t help the situation that there are now whispers that Peyton Manning may have to retire. One less QB available to the needy teams would have a substantial impact on price to get one.

  16. Rob says:

    Hey mysteryman,

    This regime are permanently working out players and trying guys out. If you want more information, I’d recommend emailing the team.

  17. Daniel says:

    Rams fan here, but I really like reading your take on Barkley (USC fan as well). I read your Barkley vs. Luck piece over the summer, too, and you’ve been pretty spot on with him. One thing that is NEVER mentioned with Matt is that this guy was the Golden Boy when Pete brought him in at 18. He faced a tremendous amount of pressure from the start. Then Pete leaves after his freshman season, and Kiffin comes in and no longer treats Matt like the Golden Boy. All of a sudden, sanctions hit and Barkley steps up as the leader of the team and the face of the program. All of this by age 19. This could have easily ruined any quarterback back. Barkley strived under this amount of pressure and he continues to get better every week. His improvement throughout this season has been amazing, and it’s no coincidence that USC is now looking like one of the best teams in the nation while Barkley is playing arguably the best ball in the nation. I hope he doesn’t go to you guys, but if he does, I can’t root against the guy. He is already a Trojan legend. Great kid, great head on his shoulders, and probably the most battle tested quarterback in America. Actually, I hope he stays at USC for one more year. He and the team could make a legendary “F*** YOU NCAA* kind of run…

  18. James says:

    Paul Allen should order Pete and John to go for broke and trade for Barkley, whatever the cost, even if it means every pick this year plus next year’s #1 to boot. Half of these picks won’t pan out at all, and the other half would probably only be league-average, who can easily be replaced with free agents. I am sick of being stuck in mediocrity, and a QB is the only hope out of this mess.

  19. Doug says:

    When are the Hawks going to let Portis play? TJ is hurt and hurting the team by playing, Clippy sucks, and if he plays well, then we either don’t need to draft Barkley, or we can throw up a big smokescreen that we don’t need to, which might help us sneak in the back door.

  20. AP says:

    Seahawks can afford a higher cost than most teams. Behold…

    In the market: Seattle, Cleveland, Denver, Washington, Jacksonville, Indianapolis, Miami, and Kansas City.

    Cleveland – Many more glaring needs and can’t afford to lose as many draft picks compared to Seattle and they have a QB with more upside than Seattle that is arguably improving.

    Denver – Really would upset the fanbase, especially if they end up overtaking the Raiders with some more Tebowtasic comebacks.

    Washington – Also has more needs/can’t afford to lose as many draft picks, but Grossman really sucks… Usually.

    Jacksonville – Obviously going into uber blow-up mode and can not afford to lose draft picks

    Indianapolis – They’re in a better position than anyone because they could roll the dice and trade down to, potentially, #4 and get Barkley and another first round pick instead of just Luck. “Barkley +” is worth more than “just Luck”. Risky goal because you can’t guarantee Barkle’s availability.

    Miami – Closer to the ‘hawks in talent riches but not in youth. I’d still give the advantage (perceived or real) to the Seahawks in getting crazy with the draft picks.

    K.C. – Closer still to the Seahawks (when healthy) in talent riches. I’d even give them the edge at the WR position, too with DBowe and their bigger, badder, JBaldwin. They aren’t as young on their line and need defensive help up front. They can’t afford to lose the picks.

  21. copykirk says:

    Carroll’s “bust for barkley” campaign has been evident since the day he announced there would be no competition at QB (to protect whitehurst mostly as a trade commodity) & to build a team able to win without a doitall Manning type of QB like Luck.

    Barkley obviously has been working to play for the coach who recruited him #1 out of HS, and fits perfectly into the Seahawks system like a trojan.

    but the interesting part is, how has Carroll managed to get his team to scuttle games against QB short draft competitors like Shanahan’s wes coa off while getting trade commodities like Golden to keep quite about intentionally sandbagging (i.e. penalties at (in)opportune times).

    Seriously, Carroll/Bevell et al even have T Jack INTENTIONALLY playing like Barkley (taking sacks he could easily avoid in Minn, avoiding the laser/rocket arm interm/deep ball), and obviously every guy on the team is building their play around the future franchise pick.

    Interesting, especially in the next couple years when we replace beastmode w/ a young adrian peterson/reggie bush coupled w/ Barkley/BMW/Rice and our defense…