According to reports from ESPN, USC QB Matt Barkley will attend this week’s NFL combine but will not participate. The Santa Ana native has been hampered by a shoulder injury sustained against hated rival UCLA, effectively ending his college career. Despite this setback, Barkley is scheduled to workout at his pro day on March 27. Barkley has been rehabbing his nagging injury in Birmingham, Alabama with Dr. James Andrews the past month, but has since moved to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. Barkley’s agency Creative Artists Agency (CAA), released a statement to all 32 NFL teams Monday, saying:
Barkley will be attending the upcoming scouting combine in Indianapolis, but he will not be throwing or participating in any on-field testing components while there.
In an already weak quarterback draft class, Barkley will have to show scouts his injury is behind him at his pro day. In 2012, Barkley finished his Senior season with 36 touchdown, 3,273 yards, and 15 interceptions. Regarded as one of the top quarterback prospects, how will this fare for the San Francisco 49ers? Great.
In my last article titled, “Why San Francisco 49ers Need To Draft A Backup Quarterback,” I clearly stated that the 49ers should target Barkley, considering they have three third-round draft picks at their disposal. However, many project him to be a second-round pick, making the need to trade up a likely possibility. As with many things that is easier said than done, and the 49ers will need to weigh the pros and cons before making such a drastic move.
However, if Barkley somehow struggles during his pro day, that could bode well for San Francisco. Head coach Jim Harbaugh is a quarterback guru, and any inconsistencies Barkley may have, will certainly be corrected. Furthermore, Barkley fits the West Coast offense, as he is extremely accurate throwing on the run. While many NFL Draft analysts peg West Virginia’s Geno Smith as the top rated quarterback, I believe Barkley will be the better pro.
Time will tell if I am right. But if I had to bet my money, I would go all-in on Barkley, in this year’s NFL Draft.