The Miami Dolphins’ record indicates that they are closer to earning the top pick in the draft than they are to making the playoffs. Yes, sadly the 3-8 Dolphins are only 3 games behind the Colts (0-10) for the top pick, but the Dolphins are 4 games behind the Bengals (7-4) for the last playoff spot. This reality has begun to set in among Dolphins fans…at least most of us. The fact of the matter is, the Dolphins will officially be eliminated from playoff contention with their next loss or the next Bengals win over an AFC opponent. If this was week 17, it wouldn’t be so bad…..But since there are 5 games left, it’s safe to say there will be no postseason for the Dolphins in 2011. This likely means that coach Tony Sparano and Jeff Ireland will be gone when the season is over.
Having said all of that, it’s logical for Dolphins fans to begin to look to 2012. Who will the next coach be? Who will be the new GM? Where will the Dolphins finish in the standings…and more importantly the draft order. Right now, the Dolphins would hold the #5 pick in the draft. The Dolphins would pick after Indianapolis, St. Louis, Minnesota, and Carolina. Considering all of those teams will have recently drafted a QB, with Indy expected to take Andrew Luck, the Dolphins would have their choice of the other QBs. Those ‘other QBs’ could include Landry Jones, Matt Barkley, and Robert Griffen III. All of these QBs are juniors, so the Dolphins options will depend on which QBs decide to come out of college early.
Many people think that with his great season at USC, that Matt Barkley will declare for the draft. His stock is skyrocketing right now, perhaps even into the category of best QB not named Andrew Luck. Earlier this season Barkley was rated by Mel Kiper Jr. as one of the 20 best players in college football. Now, Barkley is up to #11. It’s not hard to see why Barkley’s stock is rising so quickly. He’s having an incredible season (308 of 446 for 3528 yards, 69.1% completions, 39 TDs, 7 INTs for a 161.2 passer rating). His game on Saturday against UCLA was as good of a performance as you will see by a college QB (35 of 42 for 423 yards, 83.3% completions, 6 TDs, 0 INTs for a 215.1 passer rating).
Obviously, there is still a lot of time between now and April’s Draft. However, you have to think that Barkley will be strongly considered by whomever is running the Dolphins Draft. Personally, I think Barkley is the next best QB for the Dolphins, after Andrew Luck. Barkley does not have an elite arm, but he has many other tools that will make him a franchise QB in the NFL. Landry Jones is a very good college QB, but I think Barkley projects better in the NFL. Robert Griffen III has potential, but may take a little longer to develop into a franchise QB.
Again, there is a lot of time and still some games to be played, but Barkley will be an interesting option for the Dolphins come Draft Day. A lot will depend on where the Dolphins ultimately finish and which QBs declare for the draft. But, if Barkley is there for them to take, the early consensus is that he could be just the answer to their QB problems. After all, Matt Moore is not the franchise QB the Dolphins have been looking for. He’ll most likely be on the Dolphins next season, but he’ll most likely be the backup, or the stop gap starter until whichever QB the Dolphins draft, is ready.