USC quarterback Matt Barkley announced earlier today that he would be returning to school for his senior season. This comes as a bit of a surprise, as Barkley was seen as a surefire top 10 pick, and either the second or third quarterback to be taken in the 2012 NFL Draft. Along with Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck, he formed a trio of very impressive young quarterbacks. But now he returns to school, and the Bucs see their options in the draft diminish.
Had Matt Barkley been on the board, he would either have been selected ahead of where the Bucs would pick, and that would have pushed down another top player for the Bucs to select with their almost certain top 10 draft pick. Had Barkley still been on the board, the Bucs probably could have swung a trade with a quarterback-hungry team for the pick.
Without Barkley, the Bucs are less likely to find a trade partner to trade down and would have to 'settle' for whoever is on top of their board when the clock starts. In our own RookTakesYou's latest analysis, he had WR Justin Blackmon, RB Trent Richardson, OT Jonathan Martin, LB Luke Kuechly, CB Dre Kirkpatirck and LB Zach Brown as the top available players if the Bucs were to pick at #5.
The Bucs will have to make a tough choice in April, and Barkley's staying in school has not made it any easier.