2012 NFL Draft Order: Matt Flynn's Destination Will Shape Entire Draft

David Daniels@TheRealDDanielsSenior Writer IJanuary 2, 2012

ARLINGTON, TX - FEBRUARY 06:  Matt Flynn #10 of the Green Bay Packers celebrates after the Packers defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 during Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium on February 6, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Not Andrew Luck, but Matt Flynn is the most important name in the 2012 NFL Draft.

Everyone knows where Luck will end up: Indianapolis.  While the Colts know the name of their franchise quarterback for the next decade, the Cleveland Browns, Washington Redskins, Miami Dolphins, Seattle Seahawks and Kansas City Chiefs don’t.  And with only two first-round caliber quarterback prospects not named Andrew, Flynn will ultimately shape the entire NFL Draft.

Matt Barkley screwed over everyone by returning to USC, except for Flynn and the Green Bay Packers.  Mike McCarthy’s clipboard holder threw for a jaw-dropping 480 yards and six touchdowns against the Detroit Lions in the season finale.  With Barkley out of the equation, franchise QBs are at a higher demand than ever resulting in Flynn’s value being out of this world.

Aaron Rodgers' backup deserves the Kevin Kolb treatment even more than Kevin Kolb.  Flynn is a free agent, but the Packers will almost definitely franchise and trade the quarterback for as much as they can possibly get.  And the rich get richer.

Here is the mass chaos only one lucky team will be able to avoid and why Flynn will be so sought after this offseason.

Cleveland isn’t going to pass on Robert Griffin III at No. 4.  That leaves the Skins, Phins, Seahawks and Chiefs as the remaining teams that will be left to choose between Landry Jones and nothing to solve their quarterback problem.  The drop off between RGIII and Jones is so massive that all four of those teams will potentially call the Minnesota Vikings at No. 3 to swap first-round picks.

Whoever wins the bid for the third overall pick creates a new contender in the Browns for Jones.  All of a sudden, there are four teams that need a QB and only one passer remains that won’t be a waste of a first-round pick.  See what I mean?

Whichever franchise deals for Flynn will be able to avoid that mess.  But how much is Flynn worth? 

If the Arizona Cardinals were forced to surrender a Pro Bowl cornerback and a second-round pick for Kolb, Green Bay will most likely demand a similar deal if not more.  After all, Kolb never threw more than six touchdowns in a season as a Philadelphia Eagle; Flynn threw six in one game.

Football Outsiders Vince Verhei described Flynn’s amazing Week 17 performance saying that it ended up being the third-best game of the year only behind outputs by Drew Brees and Tom Brady and that:

No other quarterbacks, though, have played a game this good all season.  Not Ben Roethlisberger.  Not Philip Rivers.  Not Tony RomoMatt RyanEli Manning or Cam Newton.  Not even Aaron Rodgers has played this well in 2011.  Football Outsiders' play-by-play database goes back to 1993, and Flynn's game against Detroit ranks as the 15th-best game in that timeframe.  The best game belongs to Trent Green, who in 2002 threw five touchdowns against a Miami team that only gave up 20 passing scores all year.  Four former Super Bowl winners make the top-15 list: Brady (five times), Brees (three times), Peyton Manning and Roethlisberger.

Okay, forget what I said earlier about the Packers getting a similar deal to the Eagles.  If another team is desperate enough, Green Bay could pull off a Herschel Walker-like trade.  And while Flynn will shape the draft, what the Packers get in return could also carve out the path of their success for the next decade and solidify them as the next great NFL dynasty…

But before we get too ahead of ourselves looking at the big picture, here's the immediate consequence: as soon as Flynn is dealt, every completed 2012 NFL Mock Draft will get thrown out the window.

Here is the current first-round draft order.

  1. Indianapolis Colts
  2. St. Louis Rams
  3. Minnesota Vikings
  4. Cleveland Browns
  5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  6. Washington Redskins
  7. Jacksonville Jaguars
  8. Carolina Panthers
  9. Miami Dolphins
  10. Buffalo Bills
  11. Seattle Seahawks
  12. Kansas City Chiefs
  13. Arizona Cardinals
  14. Dallas Cowboys
  15. Philadelphia Eagles
  16. New York Jets
  17. Cincinnati Bengals
  18. San Diego Chargers
  19. Chicago Bears
  20. Tennessee Titans
  21. Denver Broncos
  22. New York Giants
  23. Cincinnati Bengals
  24. Houston Texans
  25. Cleveland Browns
  26. Detroit Lions
  27. Pittsburgh Steelers
  28. Baltimore Ravens
  29. New England Patriots
  30. San Francisco 49ers
  31. New England Patriots
  32. Green Bay Packers

David Daniels is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.


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