The separated throwing shoulder Barkley suffered late last season was the most recent of several injuries he's suffered since his freshman season with the Trojans in 2009.
Barkley bruised his throwing shoulder against Ohio State in 2009 and was forced to miss the following week. He then had surgery on his wrist to relieve stiffness and inflammation following his freshman season. The following season, he suffered a sprained left ankle against Oregon State. After an injury-free junior season, Barkley concluded his college career on the lowest of lows, going out with a season-ending shoulder injury last November.
So, while Barkley can prove to NFL scouts and coaches that he can zing the football around the field on Wednesday, he can do little to prove his toughness and durability.
There will be no shoulder pads, helmets or hits. Just Barkley and a ball.
That's not to say the Newport Beach, Calif. native won't improve his draft stock on Wednesday by showing off his arm strength and accuracy. However, even if Barkley begins his rise up draft boards with a solid performance at USC's pro day, he won't be able to surpass West Virginia's Geno Smith as the best quarterback available this April.
There are simply too many question marks and durability concerns.
While the NFL Scouting Combine and pro day workouts provide NFL higher-ups with an up close and personal look at a prospect, they don't answer any key questions outside of how tall, heavy, strong, flexible or fast a player is without pads.
We know Barkley can throw the football. After all, he threw for over 12,000 yards and 116 touchdowns in four years at USC. The question that must be answered is whether he can stand in the pocket, take a shot and get back up for the next play.
We, along with the team that drafts him this spring, won't know until we see it.
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