The Buffalo Bills made EJ Manuel the first quarterback off the board with the No. 16 pick on Thursday night, and from here, Matt Barkley will be one of the next QBs drafted in the second round of the 2013 NFL draft.
Barkley's draft stock plummeted when he returned for his senior season at USC instead of entering the 2012 NFL draft, as it's likely that he could have been one of the first players taken in last year's draft—possibly ahead of Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III.
As most of us figured, Barkley wasn't taken in the first round on Thursday night (then again, neither was Geno Smith), but I don't think that you can expect him to still be there when the third round begins.
For one, Barkley is talented. Over the past two seasons combined, the 22-year-old has thrown for 75 touchdowns and just 22 interceptions while completing at least 63 percent of his passes. He has experience in an advanced offensive system and possesses excellent accuracy.
Luckily for Barkley, there are plenty of teams looking for a quarterback in this year's draft, and more importantly, they may be looking in the second round.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have a need at quarterback, as Blaine Gabbert is coming off of an injury and hasn't shown the potential as of yet to be a complete NFL quarterback. Ultimately, I think Geno Smith ends up in Jacksonville, but Barkley is a possibility at No. 33.
Next comes the Arizona Cardinals with the 38th pick.
Despite signing Carson Palmer, Arizona should at least be looking for a QB for the future. After all, Palmer is 33 years old and has shown some signs of wear and tear, only playing in 10 games last season. The Cardinals may pass on Barkley because of the Palmer acquisition, but I don't agree with Palmer being the long-term answer.
That brings us to the New York Jets' pick at No. 39 (seventh in the second round), which makes a ton of sense to me. Mark Sanchez had a dismal season in the Big Apple in 2012. Just take a look at New York's passing statistics from last season:
Do I think that Barkley can come in and immediately make Gang Green a contender in the AFC East? Absolutely not. Not even Joe Namath in his prime could turn this team around because the Jets don't have enough pieces around him.
What New York could do is draft Barkley and work on addressing the rest of the offense with later picks in the draft, like adding another wide receiver or offensive lineman and definitely drafting a running back since Shonn Greene is now with the Tennessee Titans (h/t ESPN's Rich Cimini).
A healthy Santonio Holmes isn't enough for the Jets' offense next season, with or without Jeremy Kerley adding more than 800 receiving yards, as Dustin Keller's departure to the Miami Dolphins only hurts New York's aerial attack (via Cimini).
Back to Barkley.
I think there's a slight chance that Jerry Jones takes Barkley as a future starter for the Dallas Cowboys since Tony Romo is 33 years old, but Barkley would likely serve as a backup for a few years in Dallas due to Romo signing that mega-deal.
Ultimately, I think Barkley to the Jets makes the most sense for both sides, but we'll have to wait until the second round kicks off at 6:30 p.m. ET on Friday night to find out if Barkley is the next starter in New York.
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