We had a Q&A last week about Geno Smith, now it is time to have the boys over at Optimum Scouting to give us the lowdown on Matt Barkley. Enjoy and tell a friend!
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1) What are the strengths and weakness of Matt Barkley?
Barkley's strength is everything he possesses above the shoulders. He understands not only what he has to do on the field, but the audibles, in-game decisions, and complex defensive schemes that he'll face in the NFL. The problem is, his lack of great athleticism, arm strength, or fluid re-directing in the pocket doesn't always allow him to utilize his high football IQ.
2) What happened to Matt Barkley this year? A lot of people felt he had a downer of a year and that if he had come out last year, he'd be a top 10 pick easily.
One thing I've learned is that assuming a prospect "would have been (so and so) if he came out" isn't usually that accurate, ESPECIALLY at quarterback. Teams aren't going to change their opinions on a player from year to year, especially on the most high profile position. I think his problems this year stemmed from not having a great offensive line. He struggled to make the necessary audibles at the line, wasn't able to set on his 5-7 step drops consistently, and was forced to rush decisions. But based on his accuracy, composure, and football IQ, he's still a 1st round quarterback.
3) I know some people see him as being another Matt Leinart, do you agree with that?
Matt Leinart had a far better supporting cast (from coaching to offensive line to running game) than Barkley. Plus, the offense that Leinart ran was far simpler and set him up for success. Plus, from all I've heard, Leinart's attitude wasn't on par with the NFL, something I know isn't the case for Matt Barkley. So while it's an easy comparison, it's not accurate from a scouting and mental-makeup perspective.
4) The Bills seem to be running a west coast offense under Doug Marrone. Do you think this would be the type of offense that Barkley would be able to run in? Why?
Yes and no. Doug Marrone himself even said that Matt Barkley was more talented than Andrew Luck before his Syracuse team played USC, so he obviously thinks highly of him. And with an adequate offensive line, I think Barkley can have success in Marrone's West-Coast focused offense. The issue is with the Buffalo weather, and whether an arm strength-lacking quarterback can have success in the later part of the Bills home schedule.
5) As it stands, the Bills don't exactly have a lot of weapons for Barkley to throw to (Only Stevie Johnson, Brad Smith and TJ Graham are their legit WRs, and besides Johnson, that's not saying much), would you categorize Barkley as being someone who needs good players around him or can he make those guys better?
I would, but more-so with his running game than his receiver corps. Ideally for Barkley (and Marrone's offense as a whole) you need a good running game to keep linebackers inside the box and to allow for some ability to get vertical on occasion. The Bills have that. Plus, they'll need a quick-pass protection offensive line, something the Bills should continue to add to. Adding an big-bodied receiver in the short area would be ideal, however.
6) Can and should he start from day 1?
Yes and yes. Mentally, he's able to handle an NFL playbook in just one off-season. And if a team like the Bills, who already have some pieces in place on offense and no clear cut starter, does draft Barkley, they should do so with the expectation that he'll be the franchise's starter in Week 1, and for the next 10 years.