I had the luxury of
partying heavily attending the Notre Dame/USC game last weekend and got a great look at Matt Barkley sitting forty rows off midfield. The more I watched Barkley and this USC offense, the more I think he's a perfect fit for Shanahan's offense. I've really only watched him in this one game and some highlights, so I asked former NFL scout Dave Razzano and SB Nation college scout, Dan Kadar, for their input. Their responses are after the jump, but here's what I noticed:
- Barkley is already very relaxed in a pro offense.
- Majority of the snaps taken are from under center and he throws a lot of screens and slants, which is very similar to what the Redskins run.
- Like the Skins, USC mixes in bootlegs often, and Barkley throws very well on the run (accurate and good arm strength)
- He's not afraid of pressure. On one play a blitzer came in up the middle unblocked. He continued through his reads, made the throw, and took on a hard hit. (Basically the opposite of Gabbert on Monday night)
At the game on Saturday, Notre Dame was VERY loud and he never lost his calm or cool (24/35, 3 TDs, 0 INTs, no false starts or delay of games, and time of possession: a whopping 39:41). From a season standpoint, he's completed 68% of his passes, has a 19/4 TD/INT ratio, and only has been sacked 4 times. His leadership cannot be denied because he was the first USC player to be named a captain as a sophomore. As I highlighted in my draft recap from last year, the first 4 draft picks Shanahan took in 2010 were team captains (six of 12 total).
There's always 1-2 QBs who sky-rocket up draft boards...Walter Football already has Barkley going #8 to SEA, so I guess there's not much secrecy to Barkley. Since my college scouting knowledge is as strong as this guy........I decided to ping two experts for some feedback on the following two questions:
What do you think of Bakley as a fit for Kyle Shanahan's offense and how do you rate him against the other QBs?
What weaknesses does he have (I don't see any except he's associated with Lane Kiffin)?
Dave Razzano: Matt Barkley is a "fit" for any offense. That word gets over used. He has several positive qualities like intelligence, leadership, work ethic etc. Very good decision maker. Pocket mobility is good. Doesn't appear to get rattled. The only thing he lacks is a "rocket" arm so many QB coaches like. The Shanahan's will like this player. Similar in size/arm to Andy Dalton, who Cincy got in round two. You will hear people downgrade his arm strength as it gets closer to the draft, just like they did Dalton.
Barkley should become a solid NFL starter but where he goes depends on how teams have the QB's rated. There appears to be several solid starter types coming out of college this year. Best QB group in a long time. So Barkley could fall a little, especially with so many teams valuing raw arm strength and size. Barkley will likely measure in similar to Dalton who was 6017 220. Again, Barkley is a solid QB. Good fit for a true west coast system.
Dan Kadar from SB Nation's scout website, Mocking the Draft, replied:
Dan Kadar: You're spot on with your bullet pointed items.
Right now, I have Barkley rated second among quarterbacks eligible for the 2012 draft. He's clearly distanced himself from Oklahoma's Landry Jones (who I gave the 'Skins in my first 2012 mock) almost solely because of his poise. He fits into the Washington offense pretty well in that he's not a quarterback who has to rely on the deep ball.
That's probably going to be the main criticism surrounding Barkley through April. He doesn't have the kind of arm strength you usually see in a top 10 overall quarterback prospect. Fortunately there are a few teams out there that don't need a quarterback with a big arm, so it's hard to envision a scenario where Barkley isn't a top 10 pick. In addition to Washington, Cleveland, Seattle and Denver are the most likely landing spots for Barkley. Seattle is obvious and Denver and Cleveland are based on how well Tim Tebow and Colt McCoy play the rest of the year.
The other negative thing to note about Barkley is that he's had some injury issues in the past. He's had surgery on his right wrist and some other issues with his throwing arm. While I don't think they have a bad affect on his performance, it's worth noting.
One of the criticisms people stretch for on Stanford's Andrew Luck is that he's so good because he's loaded with talent around him. If that's the case for Luck, it should also be made for Barkley (as far-fetched as it is). He's got probably the best left tackle in the nation protecting him in Matt Kalil and a great group of wide receivers to throw too.
That's probably more than you were looking to get. A lot of people have Barkley ranked highly. The lowest I've seen him is in the 20s from Todd McShay, if you're looking for some kind of counterpoint.
Dan Kadar is the Lead Editor for Mocking the Draft and can be followed at @mockingthedraft
Thanks to Dave and Dan for their responses.