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Road to the Draft: Matt Barkley

By Mark Gaughan

Matt Barkley

Position: Quarterback
School: Southern California
Measurements: 6-foot-2, 227 pounds
2012 stats: 3,273 yards, 63.6 percent completions, 36 TDs, 15 INTS.
Draft projection: First or early second round.

Lowdown: Barkley has been a household name in the college football world almost since he arrived at Southern California as a high school All-America. He was a four-year starter for the Trojans, compiling a record of 34-11. He holds 20 school passing records and holds Pacific 12 Conference records for most career completions (1,001), passing yards (12,327) and touchdown passes (116). He was widely viewed as a top-five prospect for the NFL Draft last April but opted to stay in school for his senior season. Southern California suffered through a 7-6 campaign, and this year many draft analysts are doubting his worthiness as a first-round pick.

Barkley has great production, experience and intangibles. He is very accurate on short to intermediate throws. The concerns about Barkley center on the fact he does not have exceptional arm strength, height (he’s 6-foot-2) or foot speed.

They said it: ESPN analyst Mel Kiper on Barkley: “If he would have come out last year he could have been the fourth pick overall to Cleveland, but that’s history now. … He’s not the type of kid who’s going to wow you in a workout. You have to evaluate him. He’s a pure passer. He’s an accurate passer. He doesn’t have a great arm. But he’s got good enough arm strength in the right situation, which wouldn’t be Buffalo. It certainly wouldn’t be a cold-weather environment. It’d be a dome environment or a warmer weather environment like Arizona. You’d have to protect him with a good offensive line. This is a kid who’s a first-one-in, last-one-out of the building guy. He’s definitely dedicated. He’s definitely a respected team leader.”

ESPN analyst Todd McShay on Barkley: "He brings so many positives to the table, but I just don’t see the exceptional skill set. What does he do that’s special? I think he’s sub-par in terms of down the field, the vertical passing game."


2013 draft | Road to the Draft
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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |