The NFL Scouting Combine begins in one short day and players are gearing up for the intense evaluation. Performances during combine are crucial—and a couple of players should be worried.
Call me crazy, but Barkley missing combine drills sends red flags flying. Barkley, whose injured shoulder has been a constant thorn in his side, is reportedly not going to throw at this week's scouting event in Indianapolis.
If he's trying to prove he is the best QB coming out this season, not throwing isn't a good start. Barkley's shoulder injury this past season kept him from finishing with a bang. He hasn't been medically cleared to throw, so it's not entirely his fault. Still, not showing off his greatest asset won't be helpful for his draft stock.
Instead, a look to his past performance will suffice. Does this help his case any? Not too much. He's not the quickest quarterback and pro defenses are relentless. His team won't be able to rely on his legs. As far as passing goes, Barkley has the ability to throw efficiently, but he's not the best throwing downfield.
Barkley doesn't have stiff competition, as the QB class is weak this season, but all of his signal-calling counterparts will be throwing at the combine. Barkley has to impress at USC's pro day if he wants to be picked up in the first round.
After a drug bust and an exit from LSU, Mathieu has plenty to prove leading up to the draft. The combine won't be incredibly difficult for the Honey Badger. While he doesn't have a recent resumé to refer to, he's no chopped liver.
But with his most recent performance stemming from the 2011 national title game, his stock is not as high. The Honey Badger was silent against Alabama's offense. Let's hope he's improved since then. Not being a part of a team for a season isn't conducive to his stock in the draft.
The most important part for Mathieu will be the interview. All eyes will be on his response to the drug charges. He must show signs of maturity. Mathieu has to convince teams that he won't be getting into trouble any time soon. His image will play a big role in teams' decisions.
Both players have a lot to prove and for different reasons. They shouldn't worry about whether they'll be picked. What they should worry about is when and by whom they'll be picked.