NFL eyeballs Luck, other Pac-12 QBs

September, 29, 2011
9/29/11
4:00
PM ET
Is Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck so good that bad NFL teams should tank the season in order to draft him?

Maybe.

At least that's a theory ESPN.com's Greg Garber explores.

This rare sense of certainty has created an awkward situation among fans around the league. Would the prospect of a franchise quarterback under center for a dozen years be incentive enough to do the unthinkable -- root against their favorite team? Could the potential long-term gain move them to embrace defeat in the short term?

Yes. Based on fan forums there are already tens of thousands leaning that way and, as the regular season winds down, that number could reach the millions. It's already happening in Seattle, Denver, Kansas City, Minnesota, Jacksonville, Miami and, of all places, Indianapolis. Fans of the 0-3 Miami Dolphins have been out front on this one; @SuckForLuck is a Twitter handle "imploring the Miami Dolphins or the terrible NFL team of your choice to tank for the #1 overall pick."

That's how special Luck is.


But Luck isn't the only Pac-12 quarterback getting high marks. Both USC's Matt Barkley and Arizona's Nick Foles will be early round, perhaps first-round, picks.

Here's Steve Muench on Barkley:

The fact that Barkley (6-2, 220) was the first sophomore to be named a captain in the storied history of the USC program is a testament to his leadership skills, and there's no question he has the confidence and work ethic to take command of an NFL huddle.

Barkley's accuracy, touch and pocket mobility are among his other strengths. There are, however, concerns about his arm strength being average. And he threw two costly picks against Arizona State in Week 4, raising questions about his decision-making. In the end, though, he is still hanging on to a late-first-round grade thanks to his overall skill set.


And on Foles:

Foles has not thrown an interception through four games despite ranking second in the nation in total passing attempts (183), and he has a strong arm that allows him to get the ball out of his hand in a flash.

Some wonder if the spread-heavy scheme at Arizona simplifies Foles' reads and makes it easier for him to find the open man. Defenses that force him to hold the ball expose his problems in finding checkdowns when his first option is covered. In addition, he struggles to recognize pressure at times and does not have great pocket presence or mobility.

Foles grades out late in the second round at this point, thanks in large part to his arm talent.

Ted Miller | email

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