Matt Leinart: unfortunately, that’s what most see from Matt Barkley after his senior season at USC. The comparison is made between these two USC quarterbacks, and it is a fair comparison at this point from one important area. Both suffer from arm strength issues.
Barkley returned to USC for his senior season to win a national championship and became the first pick in the 2013 NFL draft. We know that the USC season was a disappointment, and we also know that Barkley’s draft stock is at an all-time low.
Barkley was injured in USC’s 38-28 loss to UCLA and he missed USC’s matchup with Notre Dame the following week. Barkley also missed USC’s bowl game against Georgia Tech. Make no mistake; Barkley was a great college quarterback and a fantastic player at USC.
However, there are questions about his height and arm strength.
Let’s take the height issue first. The magic number for height of an NFL quarterback is 6’2” or taller. There was an audible sigh in Indianapolis last year when Robert Griffin III measured in at 6’2-3/8” tall. For NFL teams and their scouts, height matters and 6”2” is where Barkley is listed.
If he measures in taller than 6”2” it will be one less issue for teams to be concerned about. If he comes in under the mark, it is another area of concern for scouts.
The second area is arm strength. Barkley is a rhythm quarterback, not a gunslinger with the arm strength to fire the ball into small windows all over the field. The issue gets bigger when he faces pressure as he tries to force the ball when his arm won’t allow him to make that throw.
Simply put, Barkley doesn’t throw the ball with a lot of velocity. Instead of relying on brute force, he delivers the ball using a combination of great anticipation and accuracy. He is an NFL ready quarterback who will have to rely on skills other than arm strength, but the question is going to linger throughout the entire draft process.