Increased Arm Strength Could Be Key to Barkley Being 2013 NFL Draft Top Pick

Sigmund Bloom@SigmundBloomNFL Draft Lead WriterJuly 16, 2012

BOULDER, CO - NOVEMBER 4:  Quarterback Matt Barkley #7 of the USC Trojans whams up before a game against the Colorado Buffaloes at Folsom Field on November 4, 2011 in Boulder, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Two months ago, I asked a question about whether or not USC quarterback Matt Barkley is massively overrated as a prospect.

One negative, or, more correctly, lack of a positive that I observed on film was Barkley making mostly touch throws, with few "stick" throws that rely on arm strength—a must in the NFL. With the NFL's fixation on arm strength as an essential feature of a franchise quarterback, it was easy, then, to conclude that Barkley's perceived draft stock would deflate if that aspect of his game didn't improve this season.

But now, we have a good reason to think that it will indeed improve when the 2012 version of Barkley is unveiled this fall.

Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com reports that former NFL scout and current NFL.com writer Daniel Jeremiah observed Barkley at Peyton Manning's passing camp, where the senior quarterback's new level of arm strength stood out:

I've seen Matt play live several times during his college career and there was one noticeable difference after watching him this week: His arm has gotten much stronger. He was able to drive the ball with more authority than he has in the past three years.

Contrarian viewpoints gain traction once the dominant opinion is known, and I was certainly one of those questioning the widespread view that Matt Barkley was the yardstick for 2012 NFL draft quarterbacks to be measured against as the best of the 2013 NFL draft class. But if his arm is truly "much stronger," then Barkley should live up to that expectation next April.

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