Will Matt Barkley start in 2013?


True or False: Matt Barkley will be an NFL starter in 2013?


Discuss (Total votes: 6,431)


Could the Jaguars make a play?

McShay By Todd McShay

Matt Barkley is the most NFL-ready quarterback in this class, so I think the answer is yes.

Yes, there are questions about his arm strength and athleticism, but that's not why a team would draft him. Teams like Barkley because of his mental makeup.

His football IQ is off the charts. He knows how to check his team out of bad plays at the line of scrimmage, and he understands protection schemes. While Barkley could be more consistent with his decision-making, he is adept at reading defenses and getting through his progressions.

So if a team runs a West Coast-style system that masks his weaknesses and highlights those strengths -- which also include short-to-intermediate accuracy -- he can become a starter as a rookie.

With all that in mind, which teams would make sense? Based on scheme fits and the overall quarterback market, you'd have to start with Buffalo and Jacksonville.

The Bills have a potential bridge to the future in place, Kevin Kolb, but if the Bills pass on Syracuse QB Ryan Nassib (who played for Bills coach Doug Marrone in college) to trade back into the late first round or with the hope that Barkley lasts to the 41st overall pick, that would tell you a lot about how much they value Barkley.

In that case, you have to believe the Bills would open up the competition and give Barkley a chance to win the job, and even if he didn't win it right away Barkley would be ready to step in if Kolb struggles or is injured.

As for the Jaguars, they likely won't take Barkley if they are sold on Blaine Gabbert as their quarterback of the future, so if they do pick Barkley, the competition would be open even more than in Buffalo. And given Gabbert's myriad struggles in his first two seasons, the tie would go to Barkley if the race were close.

Todd McShay is the director of college scouting for Scouts Inc. He has been evaluating prospects for the NFL draft since 1998. Follow McShay on Twitter @McShay13.

Which team will it be?

Jr. By Mel Kiper Jr.

Yes, but not in Week 1.

Right now I could see Matt Barkley going to eight or nine different teams. Each has a presumptive starter for 2013, but not necessarily a long-term solution.

Those that qualify would include the Arizona Cardinals, Oakland Raiders, Jacksonville Jaguars, Buffalo Bills and Cleveland Browns.

Beyond that, you have another layer of teams with starters who really need to take a step forward, or at least prove they can solidify the position. Those include the Tennessee Titans, Minnesota Vikings, Philadelphia Eagles, St. Louis Rams and maybe the Kansas City Chiefs.

In almost every case, I can imagine a situation whereby, due to bad play by the starter or an injury to the starter, Barkley starts games in 2013. I say that because I just don't think he's the type of quarterback you want to draft unless you believe he could ultimately start for you. Barkley won't be there to add depth. He's competition.

Now, some of those fits are clearly better than others. I certainly don't see Barkley as a fit for Chip Kelly with the Eagles. But in almost every other location, at worst he would serve as an immediate insurance policy, and at best he looks like legit competition to beat out the starter.

If Jacksonville took Barkley, do you really think they'd call a press conference soon after to announce Blaine Gabbert as the starter? Of course not. They'd look to create a competitive environment, and get the most out of both guys.

I don't like the idea of Barkley as a Week 1 starter, but I can certainly see him winning the job somewhere in 2013.

Mel Kiper has been the premier name in NFL draft prospect evaluations for more than three decades. He started putting out his annual draft guides in 1978 and began contributing to ESPN as an analyst in 1984. For more from Mel, check out his annual draft publications or his ESPN home page. He can also be found on Twitter @MelKiperESPN.