NFL Draft 2013: Evaluating the Stock of Top Injured Players Skipping Combine

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NFL Draft 2013: Evaluating the Stock of Top Injured Players Skipping Combine
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Matt Barkley and Eddie Lacy both bowed out of participating in the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine with minor injuries—unfortunate news that may affect their draft stock.

Via ESPN's Adam Schefter:

Additionally, Schefter reports:

The separated shoulder USC quarterback Matt Barkley suffered last season will prevent him from throwing at this week's scouting combine in Indianapolis, according to league sources.

So what does this news mean for Barkley and Lacy as the 2013 NFL draft fast approaches?

 

Matt Barkley, QB, USC

Already a player most experts believed was going to be drafted in Round 2 before this latest news came out, Barkley is seeing his draft stock is taking a significant hit right now.

The crazy thing about Barkley's story is that he would have assuredly been a Round 1 pick if he'd opted to forgo his senior season at USC. Barkley's final year with the Trojans didn't go as planned, though, for him or for the school's national-championship hopes.

A player who improved every year from his freshman season to his junior year, he significantly regressed as a passer as a senior, losing over five points on his completion percentage from the previous year and more than doubling up on his interception rate.

Is Barkley a first-round talent?

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Then, he went down with a separated shoulder, which is the same injury that's ailing him now.

Schefter reports that Barkley will still be in Indianapolis, and he may end up opting to run and jump for scouts, but the fact that teams can't see him throw is a big mark against him—fair or not. Equally devastating to Barkley is the fact that his shoulder is still on the mend. 

Barkley's arm strength has been questioned all year long, and scouts were looking forward to seeing if what they saw on film matched the product on the field in Indianapolis. Now we'll just have to wait until March 27, Barkley's pro day at USC.

Verdict: Stock tumbling. Round 2 or Round 3 pick unless he is impressive at his pro day.

 

Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama

The only running back NFL Network's Mike Mayock believes is a first-round talent (h/t Tribune-Review's Mark Kaboly), Lacy's draft stock may not take much of a hit this winter—especially if his hamstring improves with rest to the point where he can run at his pro day on March 13. 

Lacy has already put together enough favorable tape to convince teams of his ability to play at the next level. He possesses excellent vision, a quick, powerful burst through the hole, phenomenal power at the point of attack and a dizzying spin move that is rare for a back with his size.

Is Eddie Lacy the best RB in the 2013 NFL draft class?

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The biggest reason teams wanted to see him at the combine was to clock him running the 40-yard dash. If Lacy managed to put up a 4.5-second 40-yard dash time or better, he'd be a sure-fire lock as a first-round pick. 

Hamstrings are tricky, but given the fact that Lacy has roughly a month to recover from his minor injury, I'll be shocked if he's not good to go in mid-March. 

Verdict: Stock holding steady. 

 

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78 

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