Geno Smith and Matt Barkley are amazing college quarterbacks who had no business falling out of the 1st Round of The 2013 NFL Draft.
At one point there was talk that Smith, the best passer not just in West Virginia history, but one of the top 30 all-time in college football, was going to be the number one pick in the NFL Draft.
Didn’t happen. Oh, here’s Mr. Smith’s press conference after being selected by the NY Jets in the 2nd Round:
In 2012, USC’s Matt Barkley, the all-time-leading passer in USC history and in Pac-12 history, was told he should come out that year, but even if he played an extra year, he would still be drafted in the 1st Round.
Not even close.
The reason that Geno Smith and Matt Barkley, along with all of the other QB’s not named EJ Manuel, fell out of the 1st Round is simply that NFL team owners and bean-counters have determined that with NFL attendance falling for five straight years, the giant-sized rookie salaries we’re used to seeing, especially for quarterbacks, can’t be sustained.
I call it the NFL’s version of an austerity policy.
Well, the bottom line is that even in an era of billion-dollar TV contracts, gate ticket sales and season ticket sales still comprise a significant percentage of NFL team revenue. Thus, if attendance is dropping consistently, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to determine that revenues have to follow. That’s just, as Mr. Spock would observe, logical.
The NFL Draft rule is the top offensive player drafted as the first pick dictates what every other player gets for that year. That player picked first gets the highest contract and signing bonus, the player picked second gets the second highest, and so on down the line. Thus, Geno Smith lost a good $35 million in his slide down, and Matt Barkley lost a good $50 million in his massive drop to the fourth round.
Meanwhile there’s no way in Heaven or Hell that Eric Fischer and Luke Joechel, who were drafted 1 and 2 respectively, are going to clear what Andrew Luck and RG3 got the year before because that would defy the accepted rule that offensive linemen don’t make what quarterbacks take in.
Just doesn’t happen.
So consider this draft in that context as being a massive game changer. But considering the NFL’s ticket sales problems, it had to happen.
Now, here’s the question: did ESPN and the NFL Network elect to help create a narrative that the linemen were that much better than Geno Smith and Matt Barkley? Does that explain why ESPN’s Todd McShay went off on TV, but off camera believed EJ Manuel was a good pick for Buffalo?