Arizona Cardinals: Is Jake Coker the favorite?
Is Jake Coker the favorite for the Arizona Cardinals third quarterback spot?
Undrafted free agent Jake Coker from the University of Alabama is expected to battle incumbent third stringer Matt Barkley this summer for the right to be Drew Stanton’s back up. Given the competitors, is Coker the favorite to win the job?
On paper, Coker is an excellent fit for Bruce Arians’ offense. At 6’5″ he has the ideal height that Arians likes to see in his quarterbacks. Tthe biggest thing in Coker’s favor that sets him apart from Barkley is his ability throw the deep ball with accuracy. In his lone season as a starter, Coker threw 30 completions that went for 25 yards or more.
Coker has also shown the ability to extend plays with his feet, which is impressive given his frame. Another thing Coker has going for him is that he is a proven winner and had his best games on college football’s biggest stages. From the SEC Championship game onward, Coker completed 73% of his passes and threw for 825 yards along with 6 touchdowns with no interceptions.
However, the 2015 Cotton Bowl Classic MVP has a very slow release and has the tendency to hold onto the ball too long trying to make a play. He is also has the habit of staring down his target and struggles with noticing pressure. All these weaknesses are fixable, but that is easier said than done.
There is very little known regarding what Matt Barkley brings to the table. What is known about Barkley is that he possesses a weak arm and at 6’2″ lacks the ideal height Arians wants in his quarterbacks. In 4 games with the Philadelphia Eagles, Barkley completed 30 passes from 50 attempts for 300 yards and 4 interceptions.
Physically, Barkley is at a disadvantage with Coker, but he has an advantage as he has spent a whole season learning the Cardinals playbook, which could ultimately be his ticket to beating out Coker. We will have to wait and see how he and Coker perform in preseason games before any favorite emerges.
As of now I would say Coker would be the favorite, given his physical traits and the Cardinals’ rush to sign him in the succeeding hours of the NFL Draft. While there is a very small chance that either Barkley or Coker will go on to be Carson Palmer’s successor, it will still be an intriguing match up to pay attention to in the summer months.