Tuesday, July 2, 2013
What to make of Oakland's Barkley interest
By Bill Williamson
So the Oakland Raiders preferred Matt Barkley over Tyler Wilson?
OK. That’s fine.
I don’t think it means the Raiders were unhappy to draft Wilson or they don’t think he can be a good player. It just meant Barkley was ranked higher on Oakland’s draft board than Wilson.
In fact, I’d be surprised if the reverse was true. Barkley was universally considered a better prospect than Wilson. That played out in the draft when Philadelphia traded up to take Barkley with the first pick of the fourth round. Oakland took Wilson with the 15th pick of the fourth round.
Oakland’s interest in Barkley was not a secret. General manager Reggie McKenzie attended USC's pro day. I’m sure Oakland would have grabbed Barkley if he were available when it picked in the fourth round. But if Oakland felt it had to have Barkley, it could have easily found a way to get him late in the third round.
I think the Raiders just followed their board and when Barkley was off, they felt fine about taking Wilson in the middle of the fourth round.
Thus, I don’t think the Raiders feel like Wilson was a consolation prize. He was a mid-round pick who they want to develop, and they feel fine about it. If Barkley becomes a star, well, there will be 31 teams wondering why they didn’t take him in the first three rounds.
Meanwhile, new Oakland quarterback Matt Flynn told ESPN the Magazine what his sporting life was like growing up. As part of a special project, the magazine had athletes retrace their path to the pros.
San Diego fullback Le’Ron McClain also recalled his childhood in sports for the series.