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Matt Barkley Combine: QB In No-Win Situation As Draft Looms

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 22:  Matt Barkley #7 of the USC Trojans makes a pass during the game against the California Golden Bears at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on September 22, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images
Jesse ReedCorrespondent IFebruary 21, 2013

Matt Barkley won't throw at the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine, and he's in a no-win situation heading into this year's draft.

Barkley won't throw at the combine, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter:

 

Schefter later reported that Barkley won't participate in any on-field drills, opting instead to wait until his Pro Day on March 27.

Once considered to be one of the top quarterbacks in the nation, Barkley has seen his draft stock take a nosedive since the middle of the 2012 season.

He would have likely been a first-round pick a year ago, but his decision to stay in school backfired in the worst possible way. USC struggled as a team—and Barkley struggled as a passer. 

USC had national title hopes when the season began, but the team ended the season with a pitiful record of 7-6.

Barkley was considered to be a potential Heisman favorite, but he regressed significantly from the form he showed in his 2011 campaign, losing 5.5 points off his completion percentage and more than doubling the amount of interceptions thrown.

Then we learned about his separated shoulder, which is still an issue today.

The former USC quarterback needed to throw at the combine in the worst way. The biggest question surrounding him heading into the draft is whether or not he has the arm strength to make every throw required in the NFL. 

Watching him on tape, it's a valid question. Barkley does display some zip on passes, but when he is pressured and is forced to rely on pure arm talent, he struggles to hit his target.

This is a huge deal since Barkley is not exactly an elite athlete. When you combine the fact that he doesn't have the strongest arm with the fact that he's not going to run away from pressure, you end up with an average quarterback—at best.

Even more damning for Barkley's case as a viable franchise quarterback is the recent failures of other USC studs. Matt Leinart and Mark Sanchez both came out of college with similar traits as passers, and both of them have bombed at the next level. 

The fact that Barkley still isn't medically cleared to throw (h/t Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio) just adds fuel to this particular fire. He suffered his injury back in mid-November, and while he's scheduled to throw at his Pro Day next month, there's no guarantee he'll be 100 percent healthy.

Barkley had to throw at the combine, but he can't. 

He needed to prove his doubters wrong, but he can't. 

This isn't to suggest that Barkley isn't going to become an excellent pro. For what it's worth, I'm hoping he can come out and put this all behind him at his Pro Day. 

But his inability to throw for scouts has put him in a situation where he just can't win...at least for now.

Everything hinges on his Pro Day, and if something goes wrong in the meantime, his draft stock will plummet.

 

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78 


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