Every college football player who enters the NFL draft should think they’re worth a pro team’s time and investment, whether they actually are or aren’t. Confidence is everything and USC Trojans quarterback Matt Barkley is not lacking in that department by any stretch of the imagination. However, confidence alone won’t make a second-round player a first-round pick unless you’re name is Tim Tebow. That’s no insult to Barkley, but the age-old trick of talking your way up the draft board has never worked and that won’t change this year.
The 2013 NFL Draft features one of the worst quarterback classes in recent memory. Before the start of this past season, many believed West Virginia‘s Geno Smith and Barkley would be taken with the top two picks this season and not necessarily in that order. However, both players’ stocks fell dramatically as each had very disappointing seasons. There’s still time for Smith to speak up, but Barkley is the only one thus far who has tried to improve his stock off the field.
Barkley says that stats don’t mean much when it comes to draft stock, which isn’t entirely true. In addition to mechanics, strength, speed, positional skills, athleticism and flexibility, coaches look at stats and, in quarterbacks’ cases, wins. Barkley wasn’t very good in either of the last two categories this past season.
Stats may not be everything, but when a player goes from 39 touchdowns and seven interceptions on 446 attempts to 36 touchdowns and 15 interceptions on 387 attempts, eyebrows are raised, and not in a good way. Now Barkley is still arguably the best quarterback prospect in this year’s draft, but he needs the right NFL system to succeed. So it might actually be better for him to be a second-day pick for that reason only. Regardless, he’s not going to move up into the first-round conversation just because he says he should.