The 2012 NFL Draft class provided one of the best quarterback groups in recent memory. The class produced five current starters, Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Ryan Tannehill, Russell Wilson, and Kirk Cousins. What many forget is that there was a sixth name in that could've entered that class, and may have even been a first round pick. That man was Matt Barkley.

Coming off an incredible season where he threw for 3,528 yards and 39 touchdowns, Barkley was all set to enter the draft and contend with RGIII for the second quarterback off the board. Shocking just about everyone, he decided to return to school for his senior season, which was wracked with disaster.

As a senior, Barkley struggled in big games, and suffered a shoulder injury that prevented him from playing in USC's bowl game, and from working out at the NFL Combine. Once thought of as the potential first in the 2013 Draft, the quarterback fell to the third day, and landed with the Eagles.

After playing in just four games for Philadelphia, Barkley has finally been given a chance with the Chicago Bears. In two starts, he's played pretty well, and would've led the team to back to back wins had it not been for some fateful drops.

This leads to the question: could Matt Barkley really be the Bears' franchise QB?

Barkley has played pretty well in two starts:

It's true, Barkley has looked solid in limited action.

Remember to take into account that the Bears are without Alshon Jeffrey, Zach Miller, and Kyle Long at this point. Still, Barkley led an incredible comeback against the Titans, and he would've had a game winning touchdown pass had it not been dropped by Marquess Wilson. He also led the team to a win against the 49ers, in a game where he was accurate and efficient despite snowy conditions.

Barkley may look like a game manager in some of these outings, but what's wrong with that? He's played in just seven NFL games in his career, and has only been a starting quarterback for two of those. Given his background as a promising prospect, it makes sense to think he'll improve moving forward.

Barkley might be Chicago's best option:

The 2017 quarterback class looked promising in September, but people have soured on it since then. With the Bears likely to have a top five pick this year, it makes no sense for the franchise to reach for a quarterback. It's much safer for Chicago to try and develop Barkley, rather than draft a QB. The former Trojan can be retained for limited resources, and let go of risk free if he flounders at any point next season. Given the fact that he's sat behind NFL starters in the past, he'll probably develop much faster than a rookie would anyway.

Chicago will have to make a big decision about keeping Jay Cutler next season. While Cutler is scheduled to make quite a bit of money next year, the Bears are in a favorable cap situation, and could afford to keep him without hampering their ability to build the team.

There's also Brian Hoyer to consider. Hoyer played well in limited action this year, and could provide a cheaper alternative to Cutler. It's very likely that either Hoyer or Cutler will be in camp next year battling Barkley for the starting job. There's also a chance that the Bears will draft a young QB, and add a rookie into the mix.

At this point, it's impossible to dismiss the idea of Matt Barkley being the QB of the future in Chicago.

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