I know there are a lot of people that don’t think Matt Barkley is a future franchise QB. In a post the other day, I compared him to Peyton Manning and Tom Brady coming out of college and there were a lot of disagreements with that. I mentioned that I think Barkley’s upside is very similar to those two QBs and I am here to state my case why. I am NOT saying that he will be that good, I am saying that people are massively underselling Barkley’s upside.
It seems everyone wants the athletic freak of a QB like RG III, Russell Wilson, etc. Or they want the QB with the gun for an arm like Favre or Aaron Rodgers. But people tend to forget that the two best QBs for a LONG time have been Peyton and Brady. And neither of them will ever be confused with the words "athletic" or "cannon" for an arm.
I went back and looked up Peyton Manning’s scouting reports and the following theme was present in most of them. For the good points: “Most prepared of all college QBs”, “great intangibles”, “maturity”, “should pick up a system quickly and play early”, “fierce competitor”, and “solid mechanics”. The consistent negative themes: “good but not great arm”, “not overly athletic”, “gets the most out of his abilities”, “may not have Hall of Fame skills”, and “will he get any better?”
Remember, the scouts view of Peyton’s ‘lack of upside’ had everyone debating on whether he or Ryan Leaf should be the #1 pick.
Let’s look at the summary of scout’s opinions on Brady coming out. “poised and composed, smart and alert”, “team leader”, “good accuracy and touch.” And the negatives: “Lacks great physical stature and strength”, “lacks mobility to avoid the rush”, “lacks a strong arm”, and “can’t drive the ball down the field.”
Either Manning or Brady's scouting reports could be substituted for Matt Barkley's (both the good and the bad points). I see a lot of similarities between those three QBs.
My point is not to say that Barkley will turn into the next Brady or Manning. Although, I really think he has a good chance to do that if developed properly and used in the right system. But my point is to not get caught up with the big arm and athleticism. To focus on the other skills that are equally as important like being competitive, being a leader, having accuracy, reading defenses, etc. EJ Manuel may have all the physical attributes that have scouts drooling, but watch him and you’ll see very quickly that he is a HUGE project.
My thoughts on Barkley.... if properly used, at worst case he’s going to be similar to Matt Ryan. I think he has a very high floor and low chance to be a complete bust. At best case, he turns into the next Brady. Speaking of Matt Ryan, look at his scouting reports coming out and look at his numbers his Senior year. You’ll find they are very similar to Barkley and for the life of me I just can’t see how he’s not a better prospect coming out than Matt Ryan was.
I am on the Barkley bandwagon. I feel he’s the best QB in this draft by a good margin. I think he can come in and play right away. And I think he’s got a lot more upside than most are giving him credit for.