Barkley will pass on throwing passes at the “biggest test of my life”


Some will say that former USC quarterback Matt Barkley already has failed the biggest test of his life, before it even began.  The reality could be that he already believes he has passed it.

According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, Barkley won’t throw at this week’s Scouting Combine.  Per Schefter, Barkley “might” run.  Which means, of course, that he “might” not.

It’s a stark contrast to Barkley’s own words from a week ago, in which he said his injured shoulder had healed sufficiently to allow him to throw.

This is probably the biggest test of my life coming up,” Barkley said.  “This is like the SAT times thousands.  I hear the whole couple days is a grind.  But I am looking forward to that challenge.  I am excited about it.”

Scouts will grumble, perhaps even more loudly than they would have if he’d never claimed he would throw in the first place.  But the agent-driven decision apparently reflects a conclusion that Barkley has nothing to gain and plenty to lose by throwing passes to receivers he doesn’t know in an unfamiliar setting.  The top quarterbacks often defer throwing to their Pro Day workouts, which are tightly-scripted games of pitch and catch with their college teammates at their college practice facilities.  Barkley, based on Schefter’s report, plans to follow that path.

The deeper message here is that, regardless of the ratings and rankings and assessments of Barkley by folks in the media who act like they know but in reality don’t actually know what teams are truly thinking, Barkley’s agents apparently have collected information suggesting to them that the player doesn’t need to risk harming his actual draft stock by throwing this week.

Or maybe it’s a ruse aimed at convincing teams to think that at least one team has Barkley pegged for a top-10 pick.

Either way, Barkley’s name can be taken off the list for the latest installment of the Underwear Olympiad.

31 responses to “Barkley will pass on throwing passes at the “biggest test of my life”

  1. Huge red flag. A decision that will cost him millions. Then again, if he can’t make all the throws then it’s a smart move. Grab that rookie deal and retire on it.

  2. The other ex USC QBs of the NFL welcome you to Bustsville, Mr Barkley.
    We hear you took the route down Choked in Every High Pressure Situation as Trojans QB Avenue, sure is an over rated route to take to the NFL.
    I hope you enjoyed peaking in highschool.

  3. He doesn’t have the balls to throw because then people would finally see how close to a bust he really is…just like pretty much every other big name USC QB to enter the draft in the past 20 years.

  4. These young athletes, no doubt on the advice of a greedy agent, are becoming cowardly. Last season he showed what he is capable of in terms of skill and clutch play. The courage to show up and just go for it would be an indication of confidence–a great “intangible” to have.

    Just go for it Matt. You were a Heisman hopeful before you got hurt and your talent did not disintegrate when you got injured.

  5. USC isn’t exactly where I want to draft my teams QB out of. Lets see here. Sanchez, Palmer, Cassell, John David Booty (future knuckleballer?), and Leinart , man I think you may have to go all the way back to Rodney Peete to find a good QB that came out of there. Heck what am I saying. Rodney Peete was only good on Tecmo Bowl (Nintendo NES).

  6. Or maybe his arm still isn’t 100%? It wasn’t 6 weeks ago and I doubt it’s pro day ready right now. Of course they’d rather play it out like the setting isn’t optimal…Better than admitting your moneymaker isn’t working.

  7. This guy has limited arm strength when healthy. Anyone who touches this guy before the 3rd is nuts. I’ve never been impressed with anything about this guy. Guaranteed bust.

  8. Not a surprise the book on him is he has a lollipop arm similar to Leinart why get shown up by other qb’s at the combine when he can just wait for a USC pro day and get someone like Trent differ or whoever to pump him up as the second coming…get a team to draft him high… and watch as that team needs to draft a qb again in two years.

  9. “But the agent-driven decision apparently reflects a conclusion that Barkley has nothing to gain and plenty to lose by throwing passes to receivers he doesn’t know in an unfamiliar setting”

    Yeah, against receivers running the most basic of routes, with no defenders on the field in a dome stadium. That sounds verrrrry intimidating. I’m sure many prospective teams want to hand the keys of the franchise over to a guy that is scared – I mean just say it for what it is – to look bad at the combine. The coddling by these agents is priceless.

  10. Barkley and his agents are trying something new. Instead of the usual for USC quarterbacks, they’re starting the prospect-suspect-reject progression BEFORE the draft.

  11. Why aren’t quarterbacks REQUIRED to throw at the combine? That’s why they’re there. That’s why they were invited.

    Oh, you don’t want to risk having a bad day while people are watching? OK, then. Stay home. We’ll give your invitation to someone else. Maybe we can find a running back who not afraid to, you know, run.

  12. If I’m a scout, I’d rather see a kid brimming with confidence in himself demanding to throw, rather than cowering from the pressure out of an obvious concern for failure on the stage – especially a player not even close to being assured of being THE top pick, let alone a high pick at all.

    In addition, defensive game plans in the NFL aren’t tightly scripted – the whole idea is to confuse, bait and overwhelm offenses (especially QBs). So the fact Barkley sought out the safer “dumbed down” option would be alarming – particularly after his commentary showing he recognizes this as “the biggest test of his life.”

    It bears some similarity to Matt Leinart balking at the NFL challenge when he could have been the top pick — in order to spend a year taking a whopping total of THREE credits, where he opted for Ballroom dancing. Though to differing degrees, both appear to be indicia of athletes shrinking away from NFL-caliber challenges, not to mention conducting themselves in a me-first fashion, putting their own needs above the NFL scouts, coaches, teams, etc.

    Not good. I think Barkley has already gone a long way toward failing the “biggest test of his life.”

    P.S. If he thinks he’s going to be top 10 pick, he’s insane. And contrary to what Barkley may think, he had a lot to gain. Even before this development, my take is Barkley will not succeed on Sundays.

  13. If Matt has made this decision because his shoulder isn’t 100% then why wouldn’t he just come out and say so. It’s a built-in, bonafide reason.

    If his agent and family are concerned about his showing, opting out is an overly-cautious move and is very telling.

  14. As much as I admit to the same kind of initial judgment that a lot of people here are showing, think about it: if this was you, with your whole career and financial future at stake, with a high-roller agent talking in your ear about what you should do at every step, you wouldn’t be so cavalier about it.

    It’s easy for us to say this choice is “weak”, but we have nothing at stake. This is a college kid with a tricky road ahead of him, and either financial splendor or ruin ahead if he makes right or wrong choices.

    So let’s cut the kid some slack. And certainly wish him better than all the naysayers here are doing.

  15. Barkley has thrown for more than 60 TDs the past 2 years. That tells more than any combine or Pro Day would. IMO if you ate one of the top players in FBS the combine doesn’t mean that much

  16. At the beginning of the 2012 season, Barkley was #1 for the heisman and #1 pick for the NFL draft. He was a hot commodity. After a 7-6 season and an injury, he of course didn’t win the heisman and has dropped considerably. Some even have him going in the 2nd round. If he wants to make a lot of money and is healthy, he should throw. Otherwise, take your chances but lately, USC QB’s have been busts in the NFL anyway so I am not sure they would look at Barkley as closely now anyway.

  17. If you are a team who’s looking for a franchise QB, barkeley is not your man. If you are a team who’s looking for a backup QB to our starter, barkeley is not your man. If you are a team who’s just looking to add a QB for dept then barkeley is your man.

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