2013 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Matt Barkley, QB, USC

by Cory J. Bonini on April 10, 2013 @ 17:41:30 PDT

 


USC quarterback Matt Barkley generally finds himself among the top-three quarterbacks in this year's draft pool, a crop that is much less impressive than the 2012 class.

Matt Barkley, QB, USC
Risk-reward evaluation

Barkley has a visible history due to USC's high-profile nature, so there is plenty of tape on his pluses and minuses. In the last three seasons, Barkley has completed at least 62.6 percent of his throws. In 2012, as a senior, he finished with 3,273 yards, 36 touchdown passes and 15 interceptions thrown, in what was a down year. His best statistical season came as a junior, when he tossed 39 touchdowns to just seven interceptions and racked up 3,528 aerial yards.

Strengths

  • Cerebral quarterback with experience in a pro-style offense as a four-year starter
  • Understands defensive reads and makes pre-snap changes at the line
  • Sound passer on the move - squares up and fires a catchable ball
  • Team leader with great work ethic and character
  • Feels the rush and displays NFL-caliber anticipation
  • Effectively looks off the safety
  • Excellent play-action passer
  • Stands tall in the pocket in the face of a pass rush - very poised
  • Has played very well in high-profile games, for the most part, and thrived in the Los Angeles market

Weaknesses

  • Lacks elite arm strength and struggles with velocity beyond 15 yards
  • Regressed as a senior and struggled to live up to expectations
  • Recovering from a shoulder injury
  • Tried to carry the Trojans in 2012 and forced too many throws
  • Slightly shorter than ideal (6-foot-2, 230 pounds)

Expected draft placement

While drafting Barkley comes with some risk, and he has drawn comparisons to Matt Leinart, the senior passer is far more mature than Leinart was when he came out of USC. Barkley's arm is stronger than Leinart's, but not by a whole lot. He makes better decisions and is more coachable.

Barkley could come off the board as high as No. 7 to the Arizona Cardinals or No. 8 to the Buffalo Bills. In reality, he probably slides to the Houston Texans at No. 27 or out of the round entirely. It is fair to presume he will be a first-round selection based on the position he plays, although it may take a team making a trade for it to happen.

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About Cory J. Bonini

Cory is KFFL's General Manager. In late 2002, he joined the KFFL staff as a research analyst and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1996. A member of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, as well as Fantasy Sports Writers Association, Bonini has been featured in print, on radio and on scores of websites. Bonini co-hosted Big Lead Sports on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio from 2011 to 2012.

Bonini was recognized with the 2010 Best Article in Print Award from the FSWA and was a finalist for the same award in 2011. In '11, he finished first overall in the FSWA NFL experts challenge that featured 60 of the industry's best competitors.

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