With the NFL Draft being less than two weeks away, the Jaguars have many holes to fill. The speculation on who the Jags will draft at No.2 and No.33 is about as well known to the public as what the dark side of the moon looks like. Jaguars GM Dave Caldwell has been playing his cards extremely close to his chest and trying to manipulate a trade (at least I think) the best he can.
Now, we have all seen many mock drafts of the first round, with the Jags taking anyone from Eric Fisher to Geno Smith to Dion Jordan (PLEASE BE JORDAN!!!!). However, the 33rd pick in the draft could very well be the most important.
There is a very real possibility that come pick no.33 Mark Barkley could still be on the board and I think the Jaguars need to give him serious thought. Now, I have written previously about Matt Scott and EJ Manuel, but as of late I have developed a small man crush on Barkley.
Barkley’s 2012 season at USC was an extreme let down from his 2011 campaign. Had Barkley chosen to enter the draft in 2011 he could very well have been in the conversation as the 1st or 2nd QB taken. Now let’s look at a comparison between Matt Barkley and Andrew Luck just for the fun of it.
According to ESPN.com:
Now, stats are great but it is true that they do not tell the whole story. However, looking at the 2011 numbers of Luck and Barkley, they look pretty close. Barkley had more yards, TDS, and less INTS in his 2011 season compared to Luck. 2012 was clearly a drop off for Barkley, especially with a more than doubling of INTS from 7 in 2011 to 15 in 2012.
Barkley’s production suffered from an injury ridden offensive line and injuries himself. However, as Nolan Nawrocki has outlined in his scouting report that Barkley has a very high football IQ, a good decision maker, will stand in the pocket and take hits, and has good enough arm strength to connect deep.
The media has been harping on the idea that Barkley has a weaker arm, and that they question whether or not that he can make NFL throws. Well, everyone was on board with JaMarcus Russell at no.1 overall, or Mark Sanchez at no.5 or Ryan Leaf at no.2, the list goes on and on. At the end of it all just because a QB is not slated to go in the top 10 does not mean that they are not going to be a great QB. Look at Aaron Rodgers, taken no.24 overall, or Tom Brady taken no.199 overall in the sixth round, or Drew Brees taken with the no.33 overall pick.
Now if I may, I would like to draw a small connection between Brees and Barkley. Brees fell on many draft boards for (can you guess it?) a perceived lack of arm strength. Well, I guess someone forgot to tell Brees that. However, I am not saying that Barkley will be the next Brady or Brees, but I am not saying he wouldn’t be either.
- Kyle Messina