USC quarterback Matt Barkley entered his senior season for the Trojans with national championship aspirations and as the favorite to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.
With national title hopes long gone, Barkley could also be seeing his draft stock sliding as well. According to Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times, Barkley doesn’t seem to be leaving a lasting impression with scouts.
Farmer spoke with a few NFL scouts to get their evaluation of Barkley. The scouts he talked to questioned Barkley’s arm strength and ability to make something happen when the play breaks down.
“Physically, he’s very average,” one scout said. “When he’s throwing it across the field on a deep out, the ball sort of hangs in the air. He doesn’t have that ability to just drive it. In the NFL, with the corners, they break so much quicker. They see it quicker, they close. A lot of those balls are going the other direction at the next level.”
“He’s got to be a decision-making, timing passer. That’s kind of his game. When he’s in rhythm, and he’s making good decisions, which a lot of times he’s good to very good, he can have success,” a second scout said. “If a play breaks down, or there’s pressure, he’s not going to be the kind of quarterback to improvise or make an athletic play.”
It doesn’t help that Barkley appears to have suffered a serious injury to his throwing shoulder either.
Scott Wolf of the Los Angeles Daily News reported that he’s hearing Barkley separated his right shoulder in the fourth quarter of the Trojans 38-28 loss to UCLA on Saturday. Lindsey Thiry of Scout.com reported that Barkley emerged from the USC locker room apparently wearing a sling under his jacket.
While it still seems likely Barkley will be a first round pick come April’s draft, he will have more hurdles to overcome this off-season to ease NFL team’s concerns about his ability and now-injured throwing shoulder.