2013 NFL Draft: Matt Barkley To Arizona? High Risk, High Reward
The Arizona Cardinals have been mired in quarterback struggles for most of the past decade. Excluding the performance of possible Hall of Famer Kurt Warner, the list of starters include Matt Leinart, John Skelton, Kevin Kolb, Derek Anderson, Ryan Lindley, Jeff Blake and Josh McCown.
Kolb, unwilling to take a pay cut, was released and longtime backup Drew Stanton is slated to become the starter. A better question is will the Cardinals decide to draft a quarterback in the draft and who is that pick? The answer is Matt Barkley.
Matt Barkley's USC career will most likely be remembered for his series of highs and lows. In his first three years as the Trojans signal caller he was one of the greatest quarterbacks in the nation, including an excellent junior season which propelled him into Heisman contention. Rather than concluding his oustanding career then and becoming a first round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, he chose to return for his senior season.
Unfortunately he had one of the most disappointing seasons in college football. Barkley struggled with inconsistency and USC fell from being the number one team in the country and national championship favorites to a team that lost to Georgia Tech in the Sun Bowl to finish the season 7-6.
Despite those struggles he is still one of the better quarterback coming out in this draft. Though his stock took a significant hit if he's available in the second round he is the perfect long-term solution for the Cardinals quarterback woes.
He is a very accurate passer and though not the most athletic quarterback is mobile enough to escape from defenders. Arm strength is the biggest issue for him and his outstanding receivers in Marquise Lee and Robert Woods, made Barkley look better at the position then he actually is.
The Cardinals do offer him one of the best wide receivers in the NFL in Larry Fitzgerald, though there's not much depth behind him as Early Doucet got released.
Despite that Barkley is very talented and is risk taking a gamble on. New Arizona head coach Bruce Arians also has a track record of developing rookie quarterbacks. For example Andrew Luck had an outstanding season for the Indianapolis Colts.
This is a no-brainer for a franchise that has struggled to find any consistency with its quarterbacks. Barkley is a risk, yet certainly the reward is worth it.