Matt Barkley will certainly still be a debated prospect heading into the 2013 NFL Draft, but the stakes aren't nearly as high since his stock has fallen considerably. Once the golden boy of the 2013 NFL Draft class, Matt Barkley has become a forgotten man on the list of available quarterbacks.
USC quarterback Matt Barkley was chasing the storybook ending to his collegiate career when he announced that he was returning for his senior season. The Trojans entered the season ranked No. 1 in the country and many assumed that they would cruise to a National Championship Game appearance against another top team, likely from the SEC. That all changed when Stanford knocked them off in their third game of the season. USC went on to lose four more games in the regular season, and then they dropped their bowl game against Georgia Tech.
Typically used to benefiting from a talent advantage at USC, Matt Barkley was forced to deal with an overmatched offensive line this season. The results weren't pretty. He forced the ball a lot more and tried to make the big play instead of taking a sack or throwing the ball out of bounds. As a result, Barkley's interception percentage went up. While he doesn't necessarily have a weak arm, Matt Barkley tends to want to put a lot of touch on his passes. When he combines that with forcing throws into coverage, he's opening up the opportunity for interceptions.
Still, NFL teams are going to see some of the same things that had him at the top of the draft board last year. He's still Matt Barkley. Is it chalked up to a rough season during which he dealt with injuries and a weak offensive line, or is there some flaw that was finally exposed and can't be corrected? That will be the question on the minds of NFL talent evaluators as they watch Matt Barkley. At this point, he seems likely to be an early second round selection.
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