The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK


April 22, 2013

Staying in school could cost Barkley, Jones in draft

NORMAN, Okla. — Matt Barkley stayed in school. Landry Jones stuck around.

When the NFL draft kicks off Thursday night, the questions  of whether they made a mistake will be answered. Some of college football’s highest-profile quarterbacks will find out if an extra year in school cost them millions of dollars.

If Barkley, Jones and Arkansas’ Tyler Wilson drop far, it goes against the NFL’s conventional wisdom that another year in school always is almost a good idea.

But they’re considered rare exceptions to the rule by some.

“Staying in school has never hurt anybody because it makes them much better players, and especially the quarterbacks,” said NFL draft consultant Gil Brandt, a former executive with the Dallas Cowboys.

The latest standout quarterback at Southern California, Barkley was considered in the same class as Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, the top two picks in last year’s draft who went on to sensational rookie seasons and playoff appearances. He returned to USC with national championship expectations and the preseason No. 1 ranking, but the Trojans went bust with a 7-6 record. And Barkley got hurt.

Jones, who flashed tremendous potential soon after replacing No. 1 pick Sam Bradford at Oklahoma, never solidified himself as a top-of-the-draft quarterback. Wilson struggled  through a disappointing final year with the Razorbacks as coach Bobby Petrino’s messy exit preceded a 4-8 season.

Even in these cases, Brandt isn’t convinced damage was done by the trio of seniors.

“They stayed. Did it make them better players? I think it did,” Brandt argued. “Did it get them drafted higher? I think they probably got drafted about the same as they would have had they not stayed in school.”

We’ll see later this week.

None of them has fallen off the draft board entirely, but instead it’s Geno Smith from West Virginia and E.J. Manuel from Florida State who will be attending opening night at Radio City Music Hall. Syracuse’s Ryan Nassib has also surged toward the top of some analysts’ rankings of top QBs.

Brandt said he never considered Jones anything higher than a second- or third-round pick after the 2011 season, and he doesn’t think Wilson was seen as a franchise quarterback at the time, either. To him, the big anomaly is Barkley.

“With Matt Barkley, I guess we were all wrong because we all — myself included — thought that he was going to be the first pick in the draft and the team was going to win a national championship,” Brandt said.

Barkley ended up spraining his right shoulder when he was leveled in a late-season game against UCLA. He has said, including at the NFL combine, that he doesn’t have regrets and thinks the chance to be a leader through adversity benefited him — even if his interceptions doubled and his completion percentage dipped.

If Barkley does drop, it will be an aberration in the eyes of Brandt, who said he regularly encourages players to stay in college. NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock is still a believer that most players are better off returning to college.

“If you get a first-round grade from the NFL Advisory Committee, you probably should go. If you can’t help yourself in any way, shape or form, you should probably go. If you’re a running back, you might go,” Mayock said. “But for the most part, you ought to listen and see if you can improve your draft stock by staying another year.”

As for Barkley, Mayock foresees him getting picked late in the first round, possibly with a team trading up from the second round to get him. Even last year, he says, he didn’t think Barkley would have gone in the top 10.

Jones finished his career with the third-most yards passing in FBS history, but with plenty of questions whether he got better during his time at Oklahoma. Jon Gruden, the Super Bowl-winning coach who’s now a “Monday Night Football” analyst, has suggested Jones got bored after so much success early on in college.

“I think his sophomore year might have been his best year and I think his decision-making has been somewhat questionable,” Mayock said. “At this point, I’ve got Landry Jones in my fourth round. That’s a kid that as a sophomore I thought had a lot of upside and then I thought he just kind of settled in and did not grow anymore.”

Jones still was harboring hopes of being the No. 1 overall pick at his pro day last month, although he acknowledged even then that it was unlikely — particularly after the Kansas City Chiefs acquired Alex Smith.

“I don’t really know where I’m sitting,” he said, noting he avoids projections where he might get picked. “This is a long process for guys, but at draft day, you’ll figure out where you’re going.”

Like Barkley, Jones — who got married to Sooners basketball player Whitney Hand last July — and Wilson have expressed no regrets about staying in school no matter what their draft fate may be.

“You hear speculation, but I think I’m in a pretty good position,” Wilson said.

 “I’m happy that I’m in the spot that I’m in, and any chance you’re going to get to play at the next level is a tremendous opportunity. Hopefully you’re picked early, but we’ll see.”


AP Sports Writer Kurt Voigt in Fayetteville, Ark., contributed to this story.

Text Only
  • Moving In? Indoor football coming back to Enid?

    Oklahoma City businessman Antwone Taulton and Enid Enforcers manager Mark Timberlake are in the early stages of a plan they hope will see the return of arena football in 2015 to Enid after an absence of more than 10 years. And if things progress as one league executive expects, an official announcement could be forthcoming in the near future.

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • Morris Claiborne Claiborne wants to prove worth to Dallas

    Morris Claiborne had already told reporters he was ready to prove he was worthy of Dallas’ dramatic move up the draft board to get him with the sixth overall pick in 2012. He didn’t waste any time showing some urgency.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tim Tebow NCAA settles head-injury suit, will change rules

    The NCAA agreed on Tuesday to help athletes with head injuries in a proposed settlement of a class-action lawsuit that college sports’ governing body touted as a major step forward but that critics say doesn’t go nearly far enough.

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • Attorney: OU's Mixon acted in self defense

    The attorney for Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon said the incident that left a 20-year-old female OU student with multiple facial fractures was a case of self-defense.

    July 29, 2014

  • OSU no longer faces APR restrictions

    NCAA officials say Oklahoma State’s football program no longer faces restrictions for the upcoming school year because its Academic Progress Rate has been amended.

    July 29, 2014

  • Radio-TV for 7-30-14

    July 29, 2014

  • Jeff Mullin mug 2012.jpg Rice's punishment hardly fit the crime

    Two games, just over 12 percent of the 16-game regular season. Two games for hitting a woman hard enough to knock her out cold.
    Rice said Monday he will not appeal his suspension, which could wind up costing him $529,411 in fines and salary. And why wouldn’t he? He must feel like he got off scot-free.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • SamBradfordpicturejpeg Bradford used to being at 'career crossroads'

    It’s become a rite of training camp for Sam Bradford.
    Every summer, he deals with the oversized burden of living up to getting picked first overall in 2010. The St. Louis Rams quarterback is not surprised that once again, he’s supposedly at a career crossroads.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • TU wins C-USA academic honor

    The University of Tulsa earned the 2013-14 Conference USA Institutional Excellence award by posting the highest grade point average during the 2013-14 academic year for all student athletes in conference-sponsored athletes, the school announced on Monday.

    July 28, 2014

  • Hixon added to West All-State football team

    July 28, 2014

Click here for NASCAR headlines
Sports Photos

Enid News & Eagle sports photos from the month of February 2014. Enjoy all the ENE photos with full access at