Sunday, April 21, 2013

Scouting the 2013 NFL Draft: Matt Barkley

Next up on my scouting excursion is Matt Barkley. Barkley is a very confident individual. He's freakishly cocky, as he stated that he would have been one of the top two picks in last year's draft. He did a decent job with his rhetoric as he didn't say that he would have been drafted ahead of Luck, only that the Colts had locked in on him before he made his decision to go to the NFL or stay in school. I love confidence, but it really helps if you can back it up. The results were not great for Barkley this year, so I wanted to see if he looks better on film than he does on a stat sheet. I looked at the Stanford game to get a better idea of what his strengths and weaknesses were.

The first thing that really jumped out at me is his quick release, as he shows here.

He gets rid of the ball quickly and fits it in a tight window before the defense can adjust.

After watching Geno Smith, it was nice to see a quarterback put some zip on his passes when fitting it through tight windows. Both quarterbacks had very talented receivers, but Barkley had the confidence and the arm strength to fit the ball into tight windows. I have heard the knock that he lacks arm strength, and although it is not elite, it is plenty good enough.

His deep ball accuracy was not as good as Smith's, but he was not missing by much on the few throws that I saw. He's not great, but I also don't see it as a major concern.

It is easy to see the struggles that his offensive line had, which makes it even more impressive how Barkley would quickly set his feet and fire off passes with the pocket collapsing around him.

Marquise Lee is awesome, and Robert Woods is very good, but Barkley helps them out by throwing them passes where they have space to maneuver after the catch. As good as those guys are, he was not helped by his running backs or tight ends in this offense as they missed blocks and didn't turn around when he needed to get rid of the ball quickly.

Also, it looked like his linemen were trying to throw the game. Look at this.

I just feel bad at this point, because that right side of the line just looked awful. I'm guessing the right guard was keyed on the middle linebacker, because he did not react at all to the lineman splitting the gap between him and the right tackle. The right tackle either thought he was taking an outside guy or got off to the slowest start ever. That was just ugly.

He continued to battle, despite constantly being under pressure. Most of his poor looking throws were caused due to him having zero time to set his feet and execute. He has quick feet when setting them for passes, but it is tough to do much of anything when there are people knocking your center on his ass right after the snap.

Even though his feet set quickly, he is not a quick quarterback. He is best when in the pocket, and he looks awkward even when doing simple rollouts.

I ended up watching some of his game against Syracuse just to get an idea of how he goes through progressions. I liked what I saw as he was willing to work through his options quickly before making a decision and firing the ball in there. Another thing that I really liked that many college quarterbacks don't do is looking down the field before throwing screens. It keeps the defense honest and gives the running back more open space to work with.

So, overall, I was really surprised by the tape on Barkley. I was all ready to compare him to Jimmy Clausen, but he's good. He's actually really good. I have only watched him and Smith, but I would be shocked if I were going to rate anyone higher than Barkley. I really like his chances in the NFL, and I will be shocked if he is not selected in the first round.

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