Matt Barkley Isn't Throwing This Week, But Demonstrated Defensive Skillset During Combine Presser
By: Kim O'Hara | Posted: February 22, 2013
In 2012, Matt Barkley became yet another example of why juniors with high draft stock should think long and hard before coming back for their senior season, regardless of how noble their intentions may be. His USC Trojans became the first team ranked #1 in the preseason to lose six games; as quarterback of the flailing team, Barkley's draft stock has dropped significantly. Throw in a shoulder injury that kept him out of USC's Sun Bowl loss to Georgia Tech and will prevent him from throwing at this week's combine, and Barkley has found himself actively opining his own value.
The California native addressed the media today, assailed by a barrage of shoulder, injury- and overall-toughness-related questions. ESPN's Stephania Bell kept Twitter tabs on the presser:
USC QB Matt Barkley at podium. Says "100% on track with rehab program. All set to throw on Pro Day (3/27)."— Stephania Bell (@Stephania_ESPN) February 22, 2013
Barkley giving lots of props to MDs involved in his care: Thanks Drs. Andrews, El Attrache and Tibone on west coast. #NFLCombine— Stephania Bell (@Stephania_ESPN) February 22, 2013
Barkley explaining rehab throwing program very structured early on, "certain number of throws, specific distance and velocity" #NFLCombine— Stephania Bell (@Stephania_ESPN) February 22, 2013
Barkley expressing confidence in PT and prescribed progression: "They brought back Drew Brees and Sam Bradford." #NFLCombine— Stephania Bell (@Stephania_ESPN) February 22, 2013
It's encouraging that Barkley puts his arm in a class with two-time NFC MVP Drew Brees, but perhaps Sam Bradford, the oft-injured would-be wunderkind who has yet to reach is potential, would be the more accurate comparison.
The "Dr. Andrews" to whom Barkley refers is none other than the ubiquitous Dr. James Andrews, who has made recent headlines with his ongoing rehabilitation of South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore and Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III. Bell also shared some words and thoughts from the good doctor himself:
Dr. Andrews says USC QB Matt Barkley's shoulder is "great" and he could throw now. Decided no reason to rush him, ... tmi.me/LqUxy— Stephania Bell (@Stephania_ESPN) February 22, 2013
The tweet reads, in its entirety, that "Dr. Andrews says USC QB Matt Barkley's shoulder is "great" and he could throw now. Decided no reason to rush him, so he'll throw at his Pro Day. #NFLCombine"
There are no guarantees that Barkley, who insisted he wants to compete for a starting job in Week 1 of the 2013 season, will attain any measure of professional success, but it's wise for the quarterback not to risk his recovery by throwing too soon. Scouts, team management and media members who have expressed indignation at Barkley's decision need to look no further than four seasons worth of game tape accrued over the course of his career. There are glaring questions about Barkley's arm strength; the likelihood of a handful of drills performed this week changing such a perception is quite slim. NFL decision makers and media members will simply have to wait an extra month before watching Barkley in action and condemning the youngster's arm strength.
It's unfair to group Barkley in with this Trojan predecessors, but Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart and Mark Sanchez have each failed, for whatever reason, to translate their collegiate accomplishments to the NFL. There's a possibility that, even subconsciously, this stigma will be applied to Barkley's chances as well. But with a shallow draft and free agent market at the quarterback position against a large number of teams desperate for a franchise quarterback, it's all but a foregone conclusion that Barkley will get his chance to sink or swim in the next level. Whether he succeeds will be up to the quarterback himself.
Kim O'Hara is the Associate Editor of TheFootballGirl.com. She is an avid fan of sports in general, but the NFL in particular. She has also been a contributor to ESPN the Magazine. Follow her on Twitter: @KimOHaraTFG
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