Former USC quarterback Matt Barkley came into the 2013 NFL draft hopeful to be shaking commissioner Roger Goodell's hand as a first-round pick. With three rounds having come and gone, Barkley's now in the position of hoping he even gets drafted in the fourth round.
UPDATE: Friday, April 26, at 10:33 p.m. ET by Tyler Conway
Barkley's free-fall has only continued after the initial update. The formerly top-ranked quarterback was not drafted in the third round and will now have to wait until Saturday to hear his name called. Though it's almost certain that Barkley will be an early fourth-round pick, his plunge out of the first three rounds is arguably the biggest story of the entire draft.
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The ex-Trojan has gone unselected through each of the first 97 picks at Radio City Music Hall, continuing one of the most shocking tumbles of the entire draft.
A four-year starter in Los Angeles, Barkley was widely considered a first-round lock heading into his senior season. With the Trojans expected to compete for a national championship and Barkley a Heisman finalist, 2012 was supposed to be a coronation.
Instead, it proved to do little but submarine his entire draft stock. USC struggled its way through a disappointing season, as Barkley failed to live up to his Heisman hype. He threw for 3,273 yards and 36 touchdowns, but that came against a disconcerting 15 interceptions—most of which came against elite competition.
A shoulder injury kept Barkley on the sidelines for his final games in Los Angeles and only did more to hurt his draft stock. He did not throw at the NFL combine in February due to the injury, choosing instead to wait until his pro day.
While by all accounts, things went well in March and his interview prowess became something of legend, the damage had already been done to his stock. He was graded as a second-round prospect by most, likely needing one team to overvalue his skill-set to get first-round money.
Heading into the draft, it looked like the Buffalo Bills would be that team. They reportedly liked Barkley, and many began pegging Buffalo as his potential destination.
Unfortunately for Barkley, the Bills went with EJ Manuel with the No. 16 overall pick and his free-fall was cemented.
Though it's likely little consolation, Barkley is not alone in playing the wait-and-see game. Syracuse product Ryan Nassib, who was also linked to the Bills in the first round, also heads into Round 4 still on the board.
With the quarterback-needy teams fewer and farther between, it could be a long wait for both signal-callers.
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