KCCD Contributor: Elliott Dennis
The Kansas City Chiefs are the worst team in the NFL.
The 2 main reasons the Chiefs control this spot are that every quarterback on the roster is horrible and the coaching staff overall is completely inept (Jamaal Charles barely sees the field anymore). If the Chiefs are drafting 1st overall (we can only assume they will be), then Romeo Crennel and Scott Pioli are most likely both gone. In my opinion I believe Pioli has done a good job assembling a roster; however, his allegiance to Cassel and coaching hires have ultimately cost him his job.
If there is one rule in determining what an NFL franchise is going to do, it is that new regimes = new quarterbacks. Every GM wants “their guy” leading the way. Unless the Chiefs can get a guy via free agency (the fans would riot), the best assumption would be that the new GM will take a QB in the first round.
At the tail-end of last year, Matt Barkley announced that he would be returning for his senior season at USC. Some would say that he is regretting his decision. Three losses and his Heisman hopes dashed, Barkley is playing for his draft stock at this point.
With his BCS hopes almost completely ruined, Barkley can still become the first overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. He would not have been drafted first in the 2012 Draft with the likes of Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III as “superior talents.”
Normally, whenever an elite college talent, like Barkley, returns to school for their senior season instead of going pro, they put their draft status in jeopardy. Because most players flaws tend to get exposed by staying in school due to more tape, tougher competition, etc. Barkley made the right decision though, last year he was not going to get drafted before 8th (where Tannehill was selected), and the Trojans have not been bowl eligible as long as Barkley has been there. Most NFL GMs would respect Barkley’s decision to chase a championship.
Even though Barkley has not had as good of a statistical season as last year’s, his draft status has not been affected much, simply because the other quarterbacks in next year’s draft class have not made a strong enough statement showing they are worthy of passing Barkley.
At this time, only West Virginia’s Geno Smith is competing with Barkley for the position of top QB prospect for next year’s draft. Smith has thrown for more yards per game, has fewer interceptions, and has a higher completion percentage than Barkley but is an inferior prospect for one main reason — he plays in a spread offense.
Barkley’s struggles this season have been more scrutinized than Smith’s, probably due to the fact that Barkley was held in high esteem as a draft prospect last year and made the decision to go back to school. West Virginia is currently in a three-game losing streak and Smith’s struggles have gone unnoticed by some. Geno was off to a hot start this year (24 TDs, 0 INTs), but has not been anywhere near as good during the three-game skid (681 yards, 5 TDs, 3 INTs). In contrast, in losing efforts by Barkley’s Trojans, he has thrown for 1,231 yards, 8 TDs, and 6 INTs.
Naturally, statistics are not what the determining factor in what you look for in a QB. Experience, intangibles, mechanics, and arm talent are much more important. Barkley has experience that most collegiate quarterbacks do not have. He has started all 4 years in USC’s pro-style offense and has steadily improved throughout his collegiate career. Playing in a pro-style offense, he has a great understanding of how to read defenses and call audibles. Additionally, learning from current NFL coach Pete Carroll and former NFL coach Lane Kiffin will help Barkley make the transition to the NFL very easily.
Some would say that he does not have ideal NFL arm strength. But neither did prospects like Aaron Rodgers or Matt Ryan either, right? Arm strength is the most over-rated part in determining where a quarterback will be drafted (see: Boller, Kyle). Even though Barkley does not have the strongest arm in the draft, it does not mean that he will struggle to make NFL throws. Big parts of this reason are his flawless mechanics and footwork. He has the ability to move around in the pocket, set his feet, and make the big throw, much how current NFL QB Andrew Luck has shown as a rookie. He does not throw off his back foot and his throwing motion is near-perfect. This allows for accurate down-the-field throws.
With the Chiefs most likely selecting first overall in next year’s draft, their best option would be to take Barkley. Some would argue, stating that “USC quarterbacks cannot be trusted” or “Geno Smith is a much better prospect to Barkley.” Both those statements, until proven otherwise, are false.