|Matt Barkley's decision to stay at USC shakes up the 2012 NFL Draft. (Getty Images)|
On Thursday afternoon, USC quarterback Matt Barkley, the No. 2 quarterback in the draft and the second-ranked player on Rob Rang's Big Board, announced that he would return to Southern California for his senior year. The news wasn't shocking given the heavy Wednesday rumors that Barkley would be a Trojan in 2012 (plus, when has Matt Leinart ever been wrong?), but it does dramatically change the landscape of the 2012 NFL Draft.
|2012 NFL Draft|
In 2011, a whopping four teams -- the Panthers, Vikings, Titans and Jaguars -- drafted a quarterback in the top 15. Even with that heavy influx of young quarterbacks, another three quarterbacks -- Barkley, Stanford's Andrew Luck, and Baylor's Robert Griffin, III -- were still projected to be drafted by teams in the top 10.
That's because a large number of NFL teams still need a franchise quarterback. The Dolphins and Redskins are desperate for a top-end signal-caller, the Browns are believed to be interested in upgrading from Colt McCoy, the Seahawks employ Tavaris Jackson and the coach who recruited Barkley to USC, the Bills might regret giving Ryan Fitzpatrick a pile of money, the Broncos aren't guaranteed to have Tim Tebow's back in 2012, 49ers are considered a prime suitor for a long-term solution, and the Cardinals could be interested in moving along from Kevin Kolb as early as 2012.
Of course, all these teams will be drafting from a board that won't likely feature Luck, as he's all but guaranteed to end up with the Colts, who have a better than 50 percent chance of landing Luck.
That's the definition of supply not meeting demand and other teams at the top of the draft were poised to take advantage of it -- the Vikings, Rams, Jaguars, Buccaneers and Panthers are all teams that currently hold valuable top-10 picks that would have been worth dealing down to other teams who wanted to move up and grab a quarterback in exchange for a package of picks
Instead, with Barkley out of the draft and RG3 reportedly not guaranteed to leave Baylor, the market could fall flat. The Colts aren't likely to move out of the top spot, and in order to nab Griffin -- if he comes out -- a team would probably have to hope to hop the Browns into either the second or third spot of the draft in order to grab the quarterback.
At the very least, someone desperate to get Griffin would need to leapfrog both the Dolphins and Redskins in order to get the second-best quarterback prospect, and that's not exactly a cheap endeavor.
There are other quarterbacks in the draft that are interesting, but not many that could warrant a first-round selection like Barkley. If Griffin ends up staying at Baylor another year, teams hoping to land a big-time quarterback prospect with their first-round pick are going to be left looking like the Monopoly man.
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