Feb 22, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Southern California quarterback Matt Barkley speaks at a press conference during the 2013 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Barkley and The NFL Draft

NFL Draft 2013 is rapidly approaching.  Even with free agency coming as the next big thing of the offseason, a few days after the NFL Scouting Combine has wrapped up, draft prospects and how good they could be remain at the forefront of our minds.  One of the most talked about players from the combine was USC quarterback Matt Barkley.

Barkley didn’t work out at the combine, but he did impress.  I previously wondered if he would fall during his time at the combine, largely because of his down year statistically and his decision to not work out with his contemporaries.  Based on his interviews and the way the media has been plugging him, it looks like he will continue to be discussed as one of the best quarterbacks coming out in the 2013 NFL Draft.  Even Tony Khan, the a Jacksonville Jaguars VP and analytics man, brought him up in a recent interview at the Sloan Sports Conference at MIT.

So, will Barkley be a first round pick?  A number of picks who have done well in the Lewin Career Forecast are not top picks because of where they played and the competition they faced while playing college.  Someone like Colby Cameron may have some good numbers from college, but simply isn’t cut out for the pros.  Barkley did extremely well and he could continue to rise, not just because of his LCF score, but because of his “football junkie” mentality, intangibles like his personality and approach to the game, and his numbers, especially his junior season.

Is he a good enough quarterback to unseat West Virginia’s Geno Smith as the top quarterback in the class?  Perhaps.  Is he good enough to draft at number two overall?  Perhaps.  But right now he’s a major question mark.  A team like the Arizona Cardinals may overvalue him because they desperately need a quarterback.  Right now, with his draft stock climbing, he’s getting a lot attention.

Personally, I would love if he dropped out of the first round and gave the Jags an opportunity to draft him in round two or later.  Whether his struggles during his final season are enough to warrant that, compared to his intangibles and analytic scoring remains tough to decipher.

- Luke N. Sims

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