Matt Barkley I 6020 I 228 I QB I Senior I University of Southern California
40 Time (E): 4.85
All Star Game Appearance: Senior Bowl (tentative)
Overview: Anytime a prospect comes into the season with as much hype as Matt Barkley had, you can expect him to be tore apart. Barkley had a rough year and was exposed with all the faults that were already present. Reality is that Barkley was never worthy of the top pick and isa flawed prospect. He was last season and remains the same this year. For those arguing he was a top five pick last year, that wasn’t going to happen unless a team was desperate. He is what he is. A rhythm thrower best suited in a quick, west-coast passing game.
Arm Strength: Some of the criticism over Barkley’s arm strength or lack thereof is a little farfetched for me. Barkley is capable of driving the ball downfield. He struggles when he is forced to move the pocket. His arm strength greatly decreases on the run and won’t make plays in the vertical passing game on the move. When Barkley sets his feet in a clean pocket, I don’t see an NFL throw that he can’t make. Get him on roll action or flushing the pocket and it’s a different story.
Accuracy: Again in a clean pocket Barkley throws a nice, catchable ball on short and intermediate routes. His deep ball does have a tendency to float a little, probably due to trying to overthrow. From 15 yards and in, Barkley is usually on the money and does an excellent job of leading receivers and allowing them to run after the catch. Barkley’s problems with accuracy and decision making showed up in a major way this season as he was consistently pressured behind a porous OL. Also, his accuracy took a dip this season in throws beyond 20 yards. He really struggled with the vertical passing game this season which wasn’t that big of a problem in 2011.
Throwing Mechanics: Matt Barkley has been coached up since pre-high school days and it shows with his spot on mechanics. He’s picture perfect in most respects to the throwing motion. Rarely do you find Barkley making mechanical mistakes. He shows solid balance, natural knee bend, and good elbow extension.
Mobility/Athleticism: Barkley isn’t a great athlete by any means. Despite showing good pocket presence, Barkley struggles to avoid having the pocket collapsed on him. He’s incapable of extending plays with his feet which will hurt him in the NFL. He’s somewhat limited to a quick passing game because of his inability to escape the rush. He will struggle to take 5 or 7 step drops from under center in the NFL.
Pocket Presence: Barkley shows a very good feel for the pocket. He does a nice job of climbing the pocket to buy time but can’t extend the play with his limited athleticism. He’s a four year starter and it shows with his feel for rushers. He does a nice job of keeping his eyes down field and not on incoming rushers.
Intangibles/Character: They don’t get much cleaner than Matt Barkley. He’s a marketable clean image that teams won’t have to worry about babysitting. I was most impressed with his attitude this season. It would have been easy for Barkley to sulk over all the negatives this season brought about. Until the end, he was a consummate leader and will win points with NFL execs because of his leadership abilities.
Size: An area of concern will be Matt Barkley’s height. He will likely check in a shade under 6’2”. Not a huge problem given the success of undersized QB’s in the NFL. It’s working out all right for Russell Wilson and he’s 2 ½ inches shorter than Barkley. Barkley didn’t get a lot of balls batted down in college, so I don’t see that being a problem in the NFL. He changes arm angles enough to avoid this. He’s a solid at almost 230 pounds. For comparison sake, Robert Griffin was about a .5 inch taller and 10 pounds lighter. I don’t see this as problematic but it will be heavily scrutinized.
Bottom Line: Matt Barkley is a four-year starter that has been heavily scrutinized over the course of his career. While it’s easy to say he’s just another USC QB, I would hesitate to bet against this guy. Sure, there are downsides that probably should and will prevent him from being taken in the top 10 but I could see him as a solid 2nd round pick to the right team. Like many instances, it will be imperative for Barkley to fit the system or the team to fit their system around Barkley. Barkley is a rhythm thrower that excels in the quick passing game and tempo throwing. Asking Barkley to get under center and take 5 and 7 step drops isn’t going to be beneficial for the team or his future as an NFL QB.