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NCAA Football

NFL Draft: Matt Barkley Scouting Report

To the surprise of many around the college football landscape, Matt Barkley chose to return to USC for his senior season. And unlike most, Barkley didn’t come back to refine his game, but instead to win a championship. After being ranked as the top High School QB, Barkley has shown steady progression as he attempts lead the Trojans to BCS title. He currently stands as USC’s third all-time leader in passing yards and should surpass Carson Palmer’s 11,818 yds to become the school’s career passing leader.

Height: 6′ 2″

Weight: 230

Grade: Top 10 pick


  • Outstanding Leadership skills
  • Great work ethic
  • Shows great accuracy in the short to intermediate zones. Shows good zip in this area of the field
  • Does a great job on leading his receivers away from defenders
  • Shows excellent pocket presence. Doesn’t feel “ghost rushers”
  • Great mechanics. No wasted movements in his dropback. Setups quickly and doesn’t chop his feet
  • Mastered the Pro-Style system
  • Very cerebral; Sees and understands defenses and posses great situational awareness
  • Looks off defenders, and goes through his progressions. Doesn’t lock onto his primary receivers.
  • Does a great job selling his fakes and play actions
  • High character and hard worker


  • A tick shorter than your ideal QB
  • Will tend to miss deep at times. Forces his WR’s to adjust when they shouldn’t have to
  • Lacks the arm strength of other “Elite” graded QB’s
  • Needs to add muscle
  • Questions on how he would fair with average weapons around him at the next level
  • Won’t make plays with his feet if the pocket breaks down
Final Thoughts:


Last season I had Barkley rated slightly lower than Robert Griffin. He doesn’t have the upside that Griffin does, but he’s a very safe pick for the next level. While he doesn’t have the arm strength of a Matthew Stafford,Jay Cutler, or other highly drafted QB’s, it’s good enough to make all the throws at the next level. I think too many people overreact to his “lack of arm strength”. Barkley’s mechanics allow him to put zip on the 10-15 yard outs, that many QB’s have problems with. He was blessed with top notch talent around him at USC and didn’t face the top defenses on a weekly basis, so there could be concerns on how he would do on bad team with zero supporting cast.


Barkley will bring leadership, savvy, and work ethic to whichver team chooses him next April. Does he have the upside of Logan Thomas or Tyler Bray? No not at all, but what you see is what you get with him; accuracy,mechanics, and fundamentals. His best fit belongs in a West-Coast system where he can utilize his accuracy in the short to intermediate areas of the field.


Jeremy Cabler covers the NFL Draft and College Football for Rant Sports. Check out his Scouting Reports

Follow him on Twitter @JeremyCabler and @RantSports