It’s been widely stated that former USC quarterback Matt Barkley ended up hurting his draft stock by eschewing last year’s NFL draft and returning for a senior season in which the Trojans were the most disappointing team in college football. But while Barkley’s senior season was a disappointment, that doesn’t mean his draft stock dropped.
As Mike Mayock noted on a conference call today, just because fans and media members were discussing Barkley as a likely Top 10 pick when he announced in January of 2012 that he would return to USC, that doesn’t mean he really would have been a Top 10 pick in the 2012 NFL draft.
“The reality is, once the 32 NFL teams start picking you apart, at some point you’re going to settle where you belong anyway based on your skill set and your performances,” Mayock said. “I didn’t think a year ago Barkley was going to be the No. 1 pick or a Top 5 pick or a Top 10 pick. I didn’t see that.”
A year later, there’s talk that Barkley may have played himself all the way out of the first round. But Mayock doesn’t see it that way, either.
“Things ultimately settle,” Mayock said. “I think Barkley is still going to go somewhere in the first round, probably in the bottom third. I’m not sure where yet, but I think it’s probably some team trading up from the top of the second to the bottom of the first to get him.”
It’s entirely possible that the bottom of the first round is where Barkley would have gone last year, too.