Miami Dolphins: USC's Matt Barkley Could Be Option Number One for the Fins

Jason ClaryCorrespondent INovember 11, 2011

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 13:  Matt Barkley #7 of the USC Trojans gets ready to run on to the field for their game against the California Golden Bears at AT&T Park on October 13, 2011 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

For a team that has started the season 1-7, there isn't anything very positive to talk about in the present; the team has to look to the future.

The key piece to the puzzle for any struggling team is finding a franchise quarterback.  Teams will normally make several attempts at finding one, and even one wrong decision could set a franchise back multiple years.

Miami hasn't always struggled with talent at the quarterback position.  Not only one, but two Hall of Fame quarterbacks have played for the Dolphins—Dan Marino and Bob Griese.

Ever since the retirement of Marino, Miami has struggled with every single quarterback they have brought in.

In the midst of yet another season filled with quarterback struggle, Miami finds itself in a bit of a predicament.

Do they try to salvage as many wins as possible—forfeiting a chance to get that key piece to the puzzle, or do they keep playing uninspired football in order to ensure a high draft pick?

Whether you want the Dolphins to win or throw the season, there is no denying that a few teams are playing much worse than Miami.  One of those teams is the Peyton Manning-less Indianapolis Colts.

Indy and Miami are in very similar, but also very different situations.  The Colts have to decide what Manning's future holds, while finding itself, almost certainly, on the receiving end of yet another franchise quarterback.

For the Dolphins, as the standings currently show, a very high draft pick is also inevitable.  Unlike the Colts, Miami doesn't have the option of not selecting a quarterback.


If you are unfamiliar with college football, Stanford's Andrew Luck, Southern Cal's Matt Barkley, and Oklahoma's Landry Jones are being heralded for their potential to become franchise quarterbacks.

Out of these players, Andrew Luck is the quarterback with the highest demand.  He could be one of the best college players in a very long time.

The buzz around Luck gives players like Matt Barkley a chance to fly under the radar.  Both Luck and Barkley have had success as of late, and both players will be high draft picks.

For teams like the Dolphins and Colts, a player like Luck would be the number one target.  Luck has experience playing in an offense that features pro-style formations.  Not only that, but Luck has shown about every skill necessary for great quarterbacks—poise, accuracy, arm strength, leadership and intelligence.

A guy like Luck is seen as the whole package—a player who can play right away in the NFL and have success.

But don't sleep on Matt Barkley either.  As most people have been focused on Luck, Barkley has been putting up great numbers at USC.

While Luck's résumé is more bolstered, Barkley has still shown that he possesses all of the skills necessary to be a franchise-type quarterback.

The only real difference between Luck and Barkley is on the readiness standpoint—Luck is ready right now, while Barkley might need some time to get acclimated to the speed of the NFL.


Indianapolis will likely pick ahead of Miami in the draft, which means that Miami could lose out on a player like Luck.

Since the season is not over yet, it is still all speculation as to what will happen.  Even if the Colts selected Luck ahead of the Dolphins, Barkley would still be a very nice asset as a second option. 

Also, don't be surprised to see Barkley make a push at being the first quarterback off the board.  He has more touchdown passes than Luck this year, with only one more interception.

As scouts will tell you, stats only tell a small part of the story.  The real value lies in the intangibles—as in how these players conduct themselves on and off the field.

Scouts will ask questions like, "What is the player's body language after making a poor decision?" and, "How does the player react during high-pressure situations?"

If you are a team like Miami, this is the chance to finally select a franchise quarterback in the first round.  Selecting any other position in the first round is simply not an option.

There is a very good chance that either Barkley or Luck will be wearing a Dolphins uniform in 2012.