Before we get into the slideshow and discuss possible destinations and scenarios for the 2012 draft class, I need first to qualify who the young men are we will be discussing.
First off is Andrew Luck. This guy has every expert I've heard raving about him. ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. has him rated as the highest rated QB in the draft since John Elway. That speaks for itself because a lot of excellent QBs have come out since John Elway. The grade system that all NFL teams use to grade players coming out of college have Luck as a 9.6 out of ten. Peyton Manning graded at a 9.3
Matt Barkley is the second ranked QB, next in a long line of USC quarterbacks who are set to be given an opportunity in the NFL. Barkley was a special talent who maybe hasn't gotten the national attention he deserves, as he showed up at USC directly before the hammer was brought down on them by the NCAA. The experts like Barkley because of the potential for his technique and fundamentals to translate to the NFL level.
As for Oklahoma QB Landry Jones, he might have Sam Bradford to thank for his high draft status. However, I like Landry's NFL potential because he has shown two years of solid quarterbacking and is currently at the helm of the nation's No. 2-ranked team.
For informational purposes, I only have these three going in the first round.
Was anyone else surprised that the Seahawks settled for starting quarterback Tarvaris Jackson? Short offseason or not, QBs named Kolb and Orton were available. Whether he was familiar with Carroll's system or not, no one had Tarvaris Jackson as an NFL starter.
This leads me to think Coach Carroll has his eyes on Barkley. I understand a case for Luck going to Seattle, but with Barkley in the top 10, Carroll wont give up enough to get Luck. He'll take Barkley with his pick.
I hope no one is buying this idea of a new and improved Rex Grossman. We saw the Redskins QB begin to get exposed on Monday Night Football. He is not new and improved, he is not an NFL quality starter and I don't care what any expert says, he does not have any of the skills to be a top-10 QB or even a top-32 QB.
Jones is an excellent choice to step in as the guy Mike Shanahan has yearned for since John Elway. Not suggesting Jones is as good as Elway, just that Washington is a great spot for him in the top-12.
No owner loves the new CBA more than Raiders owner Al Davis. By the time Luck shows up on NFL draft boards, the Raiders will be out from JaMarcus Russell's humongous shadow. Five years after the 2007 draft and the Raiders are ready to go all-in on another young QB.
Jason Campbell is good and all, but the Raiders would have taken Ryan Mallett last year had they not still been under Russell's cloud. Atlanta gave a ton away for Julio Jones and Davis would not be above giving that and much more up for Luck.
This is another somewhat unlikely scenario, as I don't expect them to have the top pick. But if they did, we could see the Colts go in a direction that would put No. 12 behind center and not No. 18. I hope if it were to go down like that, the Colts allow Manning to go elsewhere, despite the huge contract he got before his surgeries.
I know what everyone is saying, this writer is just a sentimental, happy reunion guy. Not so fast. I have the 49ers as the leading team to have the worst record this year, meaning dibs on Luck. Luck will last in the league much longer than coach Harbaugh beacuse, quite simply, college coaches don't win in the NFL.
Name one that's been successful this generation. Pete Carroll got the Seahawks to the playoffs last year, but they will have a top-10 pick this year. Luck would look great in a San Fran helmet and could finally be the guy to bring wins to the bay. And please, no love for Alex Smith, he's had years on end to prove himself, and all he's proven is that he's a bust.
To describe how much everyone in the NFL loves this young man, there has been a rumor or two of franchises reportedly throwing this football season to gain the No. 1 pick and Andrew Luck. I'm not a fan of this, but if there is a guy worth doing it for, Luck is the guy.