If Matt Barkley, coming out of USC after four years with the Trojans, wants to improve his draft stock, currently, probably, placing him as a second round-pick, he’ll probably have to do more than just show his athletic ability at the NFL combine.
Things change quickly for draft prospects. After a 2011 season in which Barkley threw 39 touchdowns and 7 interceptions, placing him in the upper half of the draft’s first round, Barkley chose to return for his Senior year at USC, hoping to make a run for the national title and the Heisman trophy, being the favorite for the award.
Barkley and USC ended up having a terrible year, going 7-6 despite being a number one preseason team, as Barkley missed out on the ending of the season after picking up a shoulder injury in the game against UCLA. He threw 15 interceptions to go along with his 36 touchdowns as his draft stock took quite a hit.
It seems to be the trend not to throw at the combine, and I don’t feel that I have to. We’ll see when that time gets closer. It will be more of a game-day decision as to whether I’m going to. I want to do as much as I can. I don’t feel I have to necessarily prove anything.
After the combine? He’ll be throwing, don’t worry. At a pro-day held at USC after the combine Barkley will probably be throwing to teammate Robert Woods. Despite everything that happened last year under Lane Kiffin, Barkley feels he is a better player than he was when entering the season.
We didn’t finish the year strong, I know that. But that doesn’t mean I’m any less of a quarterback this year. I’m excited just to put that back in people’s minds. I haven’t lost any confidence in myself and haven’t doubted my ability to play quarterback, not once.
Quite a few teams looking to draft quarterbacks, or at least needing one, but none of them, at the moment, willing to take a chance early on on the draft crop of Barkley, Geno Smith, Mike Glennon and Tyler Wilson among others. It’s probably going to take a lot of politicking and impressive practice throwing to move up into the first round not just for Barkley, but for the entire 2013 QB class.