Matt Barkley: Falling Draft Stock Is Exacerbated by Recent Injury

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistNovember 19, 2012

PASADENA, CA - NOVEMBER 17:  Quarterback Matt Barkley #7 of the USC Trojans drops back to pass against the UCLA Bruins in the second half at the Rose Bowl on November 17, 2012 in Pasadena, California. UCLA defeated USC 38-28.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Matt Barkley has done nothing but hurt his draft stock over the past month. His recent injury only makes matters worse.

In the loss to UCLA, the USC quarterback suffered a sprained AC joint in his throwing shoulder. The injury means he will not be able to play in the final regular-season game of his college career against Notre Dame, according to Pedro Moura of ESPN.

While this injury is often not severe and has a relatively short recovery time, it can lead to problems if he comes back too soon.

That is exactly what happened to Sam Bradford in his senior year at Oklahoma. 

Bradford sprained his AC joint early in the 2009 season. When he came back a few weeks later, he re-injured himself and his college career was over (via ESPN).

NFL teams are always cautious about drafting a quarterback with an injury to his throwing shoulder because it might become a problem later in his career.

The St. Louis Rams ended up drafting Bradford with the No. 1 overall pick that year, but his overall profile came with fewer question marks than that of Barkley. In addition, it was a relatively weak year for quarterbacks, with only Bradford and Tim Tebow being selected in the first 45 picks. 

Conversely, Barkley has been hurting his draft stock since before the injury took place.

His play in the last few weeks has been a great disappointment to scouts, as well as his team. 

USC came into the season with incredibly high expectations after winning 10 games last year. The squad was the No. 1-ranked team in the AP Poll to start the year. 

Unfortunately, the team struggled and now has four losses heading into the final game of the year against top-ranked Notre Dame.

The Trojans have lost three of the last four games, mainly due to Barkley's nine interceptions during that stretch. He has multiple interceptions in six different games this year.

While he has built up great statistics throughout the year with 36 touchdowns, torching mediocre defenses with elite receivers does not impress those looking to find the next great NFL quarterback. There are no teams like Colorado at the professional level. 

Since last season, Barkley's completion percentage dropped from 69.1 percent to 63.6 percent. His interception total more than doubled from seven to 15. 

These are the numbers that are important, and he has failed himself and his team all year long.

Barkley is no longer the quarterback who many believed would be the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. Instead, his play shows that he should be taken in the second round at best.

Hopefully, he will get another chance to show the world what he can do in a bowl game. Until then, however, the final view of the quarterback is not a positive one.