Matt Barkley, UMass quarterback? That'd be one heck of a way to introduce yourself to FBS.
Really fun experiment here by SI's Andy Staples. In his grand vision, he would hold a re-organization of talent for all 125 Bowl Subdivision teams, going from worst to best. The "expansion" teams went first, with the sole goal of making the team better. Anyone is fair game; take the best player you want and move on. Naturally I'm interested in the MAC teams.
The picks in bold are his; he gives explanations for each selection but I'm providing my own analyses on this post, because plagiarizing is wrong. (I'm technically doing a Control+C, Control+V on the name lines, though. Sue me.) Generally all the picks are pretty solid but, you know me, always have to disagree with something.
3. UMass: QB Matt Barkley, Sr., USC
That would suddenly turn the Minutemen into a dangerous offensive team, wouldn't it? Sorry, Kellen Pagel. Your return to the FBS will be as a backup, yet again, which is the whole reason you left in the first place because you were stuck behind Matt Schilz at Bowling Green.
6. Akron: QB, Tyler Wilson, Sr., Arkansas
It's no Cam Newton, but who is? Imagine him passing and handing off to Jawon Chisholm. They'd be scary.
18. Central Michigan: WR Sammy Watkins, So., Clemson
19. Buffalo: QB Aaron Murray, Jr., Georgia
The Bulls have a serious quarterback issue. Someone in their original team may rise up and perform well, but why not give them an SEC quarterback instead? Solves everything.
23. Eastern Michigan: CB David Amerson, Jr., NC State
Never heard of him, but you can always use a good cornerback in MAC-land. I'd usually say "wide receiver" but I doubt an impact receiver would really cause EMU to suddenly become a passing team.
24. Kent State: QB James Franklin, Jr., Missouri
Well, OK, that would take Spencer Keith out of the equation. Not to beleaguer this particular pick, but methinks most MAC teams are not in dire need of outstanding quarterbacks. The issue usually lies with speed and strength at non-skill positions, the lines, or a playmaking linebacker/cornerback. Kent State's issue moving forward would not be who lines up under center. In fact I like his chances. But they have other issues that, among others, ought to be addressed first.
32. Ball State: QB Tajh Boyd, Sr., Clemson
An upgrade over Keith Wenning, no doubt. But not by a vast margin. I'd venture they'd want to shore up their porous rush defense first and pick a D-lineman instead.
33. Bowling Green: QB Casey Pachall, Jr., TCU
Pachall's better than Matt Schilz, but again ... no. The Falcons lost receivers more than anything else. Schilz is going into his fourth year understanding the Dave Clawson system. If this were possible I would actually prefer Schilz over him because of that.
34. Miami: OT Antonio "Tiny" Richardson, So., Tennessee
Yes to this one. Their quarterback-wide receiver combination is excellent. Another option would be a running back, since they were last in the MAC in that category, but linemen can open up holes for that.
52. Western Michigan: QB Alex Carder, Sr., Western Michigan
This one's just hilarious but sensible. And I agree if they didn't protect their own pick, someone else would take him. He's the most touted player in the entire conference. Keep him. Alternatively, you could see WMU draft a defensive player, say goodbye to Carder and ride the Tyler VanTubbergen wave, and you'd see a noticeable net improvement.
61. Ohio: WR Tavon Austin, Sr., West Virginia
See, THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT. They need a receiver and that might be about it. Or perhaps another linebacker.
80. Northern Illinois: WR Cobi Hamilton, Sr., Arkansas
Hmm. Now of all the times a MAC team could actually use a quarterback. I'm sure Jordan Lynch will be fine but he hasn't proven himself to be a passer yet. Wide receiver is something they would need but quarterback, linebacker or d-line would make the most sense.
87. Toledo: C Khaled Holmes, Sr., USC
Another good value pick. Much of their vaunted offensive line has departed, and they have enough skill positions elsewhere.
So that was the draft. Nobody else among the 125 picks were taken other than Carder, who stayed with his Broncos. Which, if this were to only go one round, would be sweet news for Buffalo, because if someone else poached Branden Oliver and/or Khalil Mack from them, then that'd just be downright mean.