Friday, September 7, 2012

The Matt Barkley Sweepstakes

It’s OK to admit it…you miss the Andrew Luck Sweepstakes. Trust me, I do too. More than you can ever know. Perhaps it’s all my pent-up Cowboys frustration, but there’s just something magical about reveling in the misery of others. The Sweepstakes not only enabled this sadistic sense in me, it allowed me and thousands of others just like me to create narrative out of it. What’s that? The Rams got throttled again? All part of their ingenious plan to rebuild the organization! Wait, the Vikings won a meaningless late season game against the Redskins? Time to write about them being a stupid, directionless organization that doesn’t see the big picture (this one is actually true, however).

But just because Andrew Luck is out of the picture doesn’t mean the fun has to end. On the contrary, the fun is just beginning. This year, with no dominant Andrew Luck-type in the picture, the prize pool has expanded rapidly. Not only will there be a heated race to land one of those top picks, but there will be a heated race to determine who will be the big Sweepstakes prize.

Currently, the Sweepstakes name is shortened to ‘The Matt Barkley Sweepstakes’ because Barkley is the leader in the clubhouse. However, in case you were wondering, the full name of the Sweepstakes is actually ‘The Matt Barkley/Tyler Bray/Tyler Wilson/Logan Thomas/Geno Smith/Random Breakout Star Sweepstakes.’

Sure, the Barkley/Bray/Wilson/Thomas/Smith/Random Breakout Star Sweepstakes doesn’t have the pizzazz of last year’s Luck Sweepstakes – Luck was, after all, the best QB prospect in a decade – but you know very well that the majority of “experts” will soon talk themselves into at least one of these guys being a sure-fire Hall of Famer. And so, the snarkiest and laziest weekly article in blogging history lives on! Crappy teams of the NFL, let the games begin!

(Honestly, you didn’t really think I’d let this gag die, did you? I would never pass up an opportunity to shamelessly make fun of things!)
The Prizes (QB’s only)

Honerable Mention:  Landry Jones, Oklahoma
Stats:  21-36, 222 YDS, 2 TD in 24-7 W over UTEP
Breakdown:  Once a potential top 10 pick, the loss of his wispy mustache has caused his star to fade.

Stats:  32-36, 323 YDS, 4 TD, 65 Rush YDS, 1 TD in 69-34 W over Marshall
Breakdown:  I’m not sure if I should be serious about ‘Passing Pat White’ or not…

Fourth Prize:  Tyler Bray, Tennessee
Stats:  27-41, 333 YDS, 2 TD in 35-21 W over NC State
Breakdown:  Could be his year to break out. Tremendous size, crazy arm, two great receivers to throw to, though accuracy is still a question. We’ll see if he can consistently do what he did against NC State. If so, I expect Bray to challenge for #1. Honestly, I’d be terrified of him. He’s either the next Stafford or the next JaMarcus Russell and I’m not sure there’s an in-between.

Third Prize:  Tyler Wilson, Arkansas
Stats:  19-27, 367 YDS, 3 TD in 49-24 W over Jacksonville St.
Breakdown:  Words cannot express how much I love Tyler Wilson. Admittedly, he doesn’t have the biggest arm, but he’s so darn accurate. Philip Rivers-esque, if you ask know, before Rivers sucked.

Second Prize:  Logan Thomas, Virgina Tech
Stats:  21-38, 230 YDS, 2 TD, 40 Rush YDS in 20-17 W over Georgia Tech
Breakdown:  Trust me, Thomas wouldn’t be Second Prize if it were my call. I don’t think he’s that great, but for whatever reason, there’s a ton of hype around him. I’d expect others to pass him as the season rolls along. Then again, Ryan Tannehill went 8th last year, so what do I know about logic and reason?

Grand Prize:  Matt Barkley, USC
Stats:  23-38, 372 YDS, 4 TD in 49-10 W over Hawaii
Breakdown:  He’s not a perfect prospect like Luck. In fact, he’s probably not even as good a prospect as Robert Griffin. What he is, though, is a remarkably accurate passer that just knows how to play the QB position. Franchise guy? Absolutely.

Non-QB Prizes:
DE Barkavious Mingo, LSU
G Chance Warmack, Alabama
CB David Amerson, NC State
LB/DE Jarvis Jones, Georgia
DT Star Lotulelei, Utah
DT Jonathan Jenkins, Georgia
DE Sam Montgomery, LSU
DT Jonathan Hankins, Ohio State
LB Manti Te’o, Notre Dame
WR Justin Hunter, Tennessee
WR Keenan Allen, California

Now on to the Sweepstakes contenders:

Things could go downhill quick, so we might as well send some scouts…

Dallas Cowboys

Projected Record:  8-8
Current Starter:  Tony Romo
Breakdown:  If you can realistically envision the following scenario, then you’re a true Cowboys fan:

1. Romo is put in a coma after the Giants sack him 14 times in the first quarter of the season opener (nearly happened)
2. Jason Witten’s spleen literally explodes inside his body
3. DeMarco Murray cuts left, both his knees go right
4. Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne are injured colliding into each other. As a result, the Cowboys trade for Alan Ball.
5. Dez Bryant…rules…security detail…disaster

(Don't be fooled by one win! This could all still happen!)
New York Jets

Projected Record:  7-9
Current Starter:  Mark Sanchez
Breakdown:  That’s right, ‘breakdown,’ as in, the Jets locker room is going to break down faster than the plot of a Michael Bay movie. Then Tebow, then ??????

San Diego Chargers

Projected Record:  7-9
Current Starter:  Philip Rivers
Breakdown:  A longshot, but all things are possible with Norv Turner. Seriously though, it would be interesting to see what the Chargers would do if a disaster season happened. Rivers is now on the wrong side of 30, and is also coming off the worst season of his career, so you’d have to assume San Diego would consider rebuilding around a younger guy, right?

We got a guy, actually…

Tennessee Titans

Projected Record:  7-9
Current Starter:  Jake Locker
Breakdown:  First and foremost, it’s highly unlikely Tennessee will lose enough games to be involved in this thing. They have legit talent on both sides of the ball and play in a division with Jacksonville and Indianapolis. Just too many wins there. Even if they did lose 13 or more games, however, I don’t think they’d be a player for any of the “prize” QB’s. Locker is their guy and they aren’t about to cut bait just one year into his tenure.

Carolina Panthers

Projected Record:  7-9
Current Starter:  Cam Newton
Breakdown:  Not losing enough games, not replacing Cam Newton, not worth spending time on.

Cincinnati Bengals

Projected Record:  7-9
Current Starter:  Andy Dalton
Breakdown:  Hard to imagine a world where the Bengals aren’t a ‘favorite’ for something like this, but here we are. Clearly, I think they’ll falter from last year, but not to the point of getting the #1 overall pick. Dalton is too solid, A.J. Green too ridiculous, and the defense too staunch. Besides, they need to draft someone to throw Marvin Lewis’ challenge flags, not another QB.

If Andrew Luck were in this draft, we’d try harder…

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Projected Record:  6-10
Current Starter:  Josh Freeman
Breakdown:  Tampa Bay might turn into a rabid dog/pirate if I named this the Barkevious Mingo Sweepstakes! After all, they did allow 87.6 PPG last year…or something close to that. Doubtful they’re going crazy over Matt Barkley, however, especially with Josh Freeman just a year removed from an insane 2010 season. It’s worth wondering, though, what direction they’d go if the bottom totally fell out again. Would they shoot Josh Freeman out of their awesome cannon start over? Who knows, if they give up points at last year’s clip and Freeman continues to be a TO machine, they may have to actually answer that question.

Kansas City Chiefs

Projected Record:  6-10
Current Starter:  Matt Cassel
Breakdown:  Unlike the latter “If Andrew Luck…” competitor, the Chiefs would definitely go crazy over Matt Barkley. In fact, it’s a mortal lock that Scott Pioli has a giant poster of him stuck on his bedroom ceiling so he can longingly stare at him every night before he falls asleep. Such is the life of a Matt Cassel-led team. Can they win this thing, though? Eh…unless Tyler Palko makes a triumphant return – and by triumphant, I mean challenging Tim Tebow for the league’s worst completion percentage – unless that happens, there’s probably too much on the roster to get the top pick, not to mention the fact that they play in the AFC West. Then again, Romeo Crennell is involved…

Buffalo Bills

Projected Record:  6-10
Current Starter:  Ryan Fitzpatrick
Breakdown:  Pretty much the exact same thing as the Chiefs. Mediocre QB, been looking for a franchise guy for forever, but the combination of a moderately talented roster and two games against the Dolphins (more on them later) likely precludes them from the ultimate prize. But take heart, Bills fans, there is a positive side. I did some checking and I can confirm that J.P. Losman does NOT have a brother available in the upcoming draft. Safe for another year!

So, how much did the Rams get for the Robert Griffin pick?

Washington Redskins

Projected Record:  6-10
Current Starter:  Robert Griffin
Breakdown:  Well, that’s ironic! If any team should know how much Griffin costs, it should be the team that paid the price. Seriously, how funny would it be if the Redskins won the top pick and traded it for the same amount of picks they still owe the Rams? And by funny, I mean terribly, terribly tragic…because I’m a Cowboys fan and I hate the Redskins. Also, there’s no way they lose enough games to actually do this, so…

St. Louis Rams

Projected Record:  5-11
Current Starter:  Sam Bradford
Breakdown:  WHOA! This is even more ironic! If it would be a crazy coincidence for Washington to recoup their picks via trading Barkley, how crazy would it be for the Rams to collect another two or three first rounders?! The likelihood, given their division and improvements in personnel and coaching, is admittedly slim. Five wins will probably be too much, and I could honestly see them winning six or even seven if things break right. Either way, barring a catastrophic injury, the Rams aren’t going to be in the market for a QB. Bradford is seriously talented and I’d be shocked if he didn’t return to form under Jeff Fisher.

Indianapolis Colts

Projected Record:  5-11
Current Starter:  Andrew Luck
Breakdown:  So, they’re probably not in the market for a QB either, right? That’s what I thought…let’s just move on.

The (Outside) Favorites

Jacksonville Jaguars

Projected Record:  5-11
Current Starter:  Blaine Gabbert
Breakdown:  I had the Jags with 4 wins in my AFC South preview, but I’m revising it to 5 for multiple reasons. 1.) Maurice Jones-Drew is not missing any regular season games. 2.)Their defense is going to keep them in a bunch of games. 3.) Their schedule is pretty manageable. They get Indy twice, Minnesota, Oakland, Buffalo, Miami, and the Jets…and really, it’s not like playing Tennessee two times is a gauntlet. With five wins, they aren’t even sniffing Matt Barkley. Is that good for Jacksonville? No way! This would be my plan if I were Shaka Kahn; every week, I’d park myself right next to the offensive coordinator, ominously place a framed picture of his family right in front of him, menacingly stare at him in complete silence for ten or more seconds, and “suggest” passing plays 30-40 times a game. Matt Barkley, welcome to Jacksonville!

Oakland Raiders

Projected Record:  5-11
Current Starter:  Carson Palmer
Breakdown:  I’m bumping them up one win as well due to the division they play in and the fact that Darren McFadden is a monster when he’s on the field…which, I guess, is almost never, so it’s probably dumb for me to bump them up. Question: If Carson Palmer broke the single season record for INT’s, directly leading to 14 losses and a future with Matt Barkley, would that trade then become a “smart” trade?

The Favorites

Arizona Cardinals

Projected Record:  4-12
Current Starter:  John Skelton
Breakdown:  So, they’re really going to do this John Skelton thing, huh? That’s…interesting. Terrible move if you want to win football games, but GREAT move if you want to win the Matt Barkley Sweepstakes! After all, the Cardinals have had such great success with former USC QB’s…

Cleveland Browns

Projected Record:  4-12
Current Starter:  Brandon Weeden
Breakdown:  We can talk all day about Weeden looking bad, Richardson’s balky knee, the horrendous offensive line, or any other reason why the Browns could/should win the Barkley Sweepstakes. Fact is, they’re not going to. No way, no how. Not because Richardson is going to be really good, or because Weeden might be an upgrade over Colt McCoy – the reason why the Browns won’t win the Matt Barkley Sweepstakes is simple; the Browns, and Cleveland in general, never, EVER win anything.

Minnesota Vikings

Projected Record:  3-13
Current Starter:  Christian Ponder
Breakdown:  Minnesota is a tricky one to figure. On one hand, they have a horrendous defense, a terrible offensive line, almost zero skill position depth, a brutal conference schedule, and a bunch of health related question marks. That’s obviously enough to put them amongst ‘The Favorites,’ but not everything is doom and gloom like with the teams above and the team below them. If Adrian Peterson is fully recovered, and if Christian Ponder builds on some admittedly bright moments last season…well, the offense might be fairly solid. At least with the Vikings, we’ll know early whether they’re players or not. They open at home against Jacksonville and then head to Indianapolis, and then have a three game stretch starting in week 6 where they go at Washington, home against Arizona, and home against Tampa Bay. They’ve got to lose three, preferably four of those games if they want Barkley.

Miami Dolphins 

Projected Record:  2-14
Current Starter:  Ryan Tannehill
Breakdown:  If the Matt Barkley Sweepstakes were an actual bet and I had $1000 to spread around, I’d be sorely tempted to put the whole wad on Miami. I think they’ll be that bad. In fact, after giving them another thought, I dropped them from 3 wins in my AFC East preview to 2. There’s just not much talent here…not much at all. No receivers, bad offensive line, terrible secondary; it’s a mess. And, of course, there’s Ryan Tannehill, who might challenge BADGAB for the title of worst QB in the NFL. Seriously, how funny would it be if Miami got the #1 pick and had to decide whether to ditch Tannehill after just one season?  This is kind of what I hoped for from Carolina last season before Cam Newton blew up and made me look like a moron. Would Miami have the guts to pull the plug on Tannehill after just one year? After going out on a limb and taking him? After defying logic and thrusting him into the starting lineup right off the bat? Could their egos take that type of hit? If so, what would they do with Tannehill? Could they get a first rounder for him? A second? A third? Seriously, this has potential to be one of the biggest disasters in NFL history! I’M SO EXCITED! I LOVE YOU, MATT BARKLEY SWEEPSTAKES! GO DOLPHINS!!!

Check out other great articles at It's Boris Diaw Time!.

Post a Comment