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Matt Barkley's Extended Slide Illustrates Craziness of 2013 NFL Draft

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Matt Barkley's Extended Slide Illustrates Craziness of 2013 NFL Draft
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The 2013 NFL draft didn't feature a player the caliber of Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III. The saving grace, at least in terms of watching it unfold, has been the draft's unpredictability.

The perfect example of this unpredictability is Matt Barkley still being on the board heading into Day 3.

Before the draft started on Thursday night, Barkley was viewed as a possibility to go as early as No. 8 overall to the Buffalo Bills. Instead, Buffalo traded out of that spot before making Florida State's EJ Manuel the first quarterback off the board in the middle of Round 1.

There were also three offensive tackles taken within the first four picks, yet the third tackle in last year's draft, Mitchell Schwartz, didn't go until the second round. Also, no running backs were taken in the first round for the first time in four decades, and Manti Te'o fell out of the opening round completely.

In other words, this year's draft has been unique, and it certainly hasn't gone as predicted. A team like the Jacksonville Jaguars, who probably expected Barkley to be off the board by now, might have to reconsider their plans leading off the fourth round.

A couple tweets from Peter King of Sports Illustrated show exactly how surprising it is that the USC quarterback remains available at this point of the draft.

If King, one of the preeminent and most plugged-in football writers around, is shocked, it's safe to assume that the same holds true for people around the league. It appears somewhere, lost in all the hype, was the fact that teams didn't value Barkley as highly as it seemed they would.

That said, it's reached a point where he would now be a tremendous value selection for a quarterback-needy team like the Jaguars. Returning to college this season clearly had a negative impact on his draft stock, but it's not like he forgot how to play the position over the course of one year.

Statistically speaking, the drop-off was actually quite minor. He connected on 36 touchdown passes in 2012, three less than he did in 2011, and he had a quarterback rating of 157.6, a drop off of less than four points from the previous season.

Perhaps the biggest change was to the Trojans as a whole. After going 10-2 in 2011, poor defensive play led them to a 7-6 mark during Barkley's senior campaign.

When will Barkley finally come off the board?

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They were playing from behind a lot more, leading to more obvious passing situations, which is a major advantage for opposing defenses. This at least helps explain the rise in interceptions and drop in completion percentage for Barkley last season.

What he lacks in arm strength, he makes up for in intermediate accuracy, knowledge of pro-style offenses and experience. Given how many teams have shaky quarterback situations, there's no reason he should still be on the board.

The Jaguars should be looking for another quarterback to at least compete with Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne. Barkley would provide terrific value at the start of Round 4, and there's a good chance that he would get a chance to play at some point during his rookie season. He should be the pick for the Jags to start off Day 3.

Then again, that would be the predictable move, and this draft hasn't featured very many of those.

 

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