Winners And Losers From Barkley’s Decision
(Originally posted by me at Mocking The Draft)
For weeks, even months, fans of teams in need of a franchise QB have been salivating over the number of options to pick from in round 1 of the 2012 draft. While Andrew Luck has been the consensus #1 pick in 2012 for nearly a full calender year – ever since he announced he would return to school – Matt Barkley had established himself as a top 10 pick. While Robert Griffin III had a phenomenal season, capped off by a Heisman trophy win, many still considered Barkley to be the 2nd best QB prospect on the board. Unfortunately for teams seeking a new signal-caller, Barkley is headed back to college. Here are the top winners and losers from today’s decision:
Robert Griffin III – Assuming the Heisman trophy winning QB declares (a matter still very much up in the air), he immediately becomes the unanimous #2 QB on the board. Barring a terrible performance at the combine, or teams getting cold feet if Griffin is a bit shorter than expected, Griffin stands to be a top 5 pick. There are even grumblings that he could leapfrog Andrew Luck atop the 2012 board. While that seems a bit extreme – at least right now – there is no doubt Griffin will hear his name called very early on Day 1.
Ryan Tannehill/Landry Jones/Nick Foles – The 2nd tier of QB prospects instantly become 1st round considerations if they weren’t before. The draft is very much a good example of the principles of supply and demand. Once Luck and Griffin are gone, teams will get antsy waiting around for the #3 QB to come off the board. It wouldn’t surprise me to see one of these guys go much earlier than many think. Tannehill or Jones might even sneak into the top 15.
Minnesota Vikings/St.Louis Rams – Whichever team holds the #2 pick in the draft immediately sees a big demand for their pick. Far more teams need a franchise QB than will be able to find one via the veteran free agent and trade market. Going into the draft, there figures to be at least 4 or 5 teams desperately in need of a long-term answer at QB. The only way to ensure you get a premier prospect (Griffin) is to leapfrog all the other QB-needy teams. One would think the price tag in any trade just went up.
Brian Hoyer/Matt Flynn – Young veteran QB’s buried behind superstars. Both Hoyer (restricted) and Flynn (unrestricted) will be free agents at the end of the year and both figure to be options for teams who will be unable to get Luck or Griffin. Flynn seems almost certain to leave the Packers and Hoyer could probably be pried free from New England for the right price. With one less young QB option available, these guys could see an increase in the demand for their services.
Kyle Orton – As sad as it might sound, Orton will most likely be the best “established” veteran QB available in free agency. It’s possible the Chiefs decide to keep him around, but they probably won’t be alone in bidding for Orton. He could provide a good 1 or 2 year stopgap for a team who doesn’t want to reach for a 2nd or 3rd tier guy in the draft.
Seattle Seahawks – Beyond the Pete Carroll/USC connection, the Seahawks seemed like a pretty good landing spot for Barkley. Their offense would have been a good fit for him and they are arguably a franchise QB away from being a serious NFC West contender. Seattle has been winning too much lately to have been in position to draft Barkley, but they won’t even have the chance to trade up for him now. Furthermore, the increased demand for 2nd tier guys could put the Seahawks in a tough spot if they end up drafting in the middle of the 1st round. Do they reach for a QB? Do they wait til round 2 and take a lesser prospect and hope for the best? Tarvaris Jackson isn’t the answer and Pete Carroll needs to find a better QB if he wants to stick around for awhile
Washington Redskins – The Redskins have needed a QB since the days of Mark Rypien. They have missed on three 1st round QB’s since Rypien (Heath Shuler, Patrick Ramsey, Jason Campbell) and were in prime position to get either Griffin or Barkley. Now they will have to try to trade up to get get Griffin – not as good of a system fit as Barkley would have been- or settle for a 2nd rounder (or pass altogether).
Miami Dolphins – Pretty much the same story as Washington. The Dolphins aren’t too far away from being a contender but need a better QB than Matt Moore. Few teams have invested as little in the QB position as the Dolphins. Since 1990, the Dolphins have only drafted 7 QB’s. They waited too late to find an heir to Hall of Famer Dan Marino and have missed on questionable 2nd rounders John Beck, Chad Henne and Pat White. It’s tough to see the Dolphins being able to win the AFC East with their endless parade of journeymen and fringe starters.
Cleveland Browns – Depending on whether or not Mike Holmgren, Tom Heckert and Pat Shurmer believe in Colt McCoy, the Browns could have been a player for Barkley. With Griffin almost certainly off the board by the time the Browns are on the clock, McCoy probably survives another year as Cleveland’s starter.