Matt Barkley’s dream has come true, as he’s gone from a four-year starter at both Mater Dei and USC, to become the sixth USC quarterback in 10 years to be drafted into the NFL. Barkley was selected by the Philadelphia Eagles with the 98th pick of the 2013 NFL Draft, in Saturday’s fourth round.
Like Geno Smith and Ryan Nassib, Barkley was shutout of the first round and day of the draft. Only one quarterback was selected in the draft, Florida State’s E.J. Manuel, who went to Buffalo at No. 16. Barkley’s favorite target at USC, Robert Woods, was also not selected in the first round, falling to the Bills in the second.
Then day two happened, with Barkley striking out again, as Smith wound up going to the New York Jets in the second round and Mike Glennon landed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the 73rd overall pick. Nassib, who at one point last month considered to be a potential top ten pick, also has had a long wait, going undrafted in the first three rounds.
At first, Barkley was long considered to be the top quarterback in the draft, after he was rumored to even give Robert Griffin III a run for his money in last year’s draft, had he not returned to USC for his senior season.
The senior season took a toll on Barkley, as he threw a career high 15 interceptions in 2012, including nine in his last four games, before ultimately being knocked out for the season by a hit from UCLA’s Anthony Barr that left Barkley with an AC sprain.
Barkley missed the last two games of the season against No. 1 Notre Dame and the Trojans’ dismal Sun Bowl loss to Georgia Tech on New Years Eve. Despite not throwing at the NFL Scouting Combine in February, Barkley threw at USC’s Pro Day on March 27th, and showed no signs of lingering pain from his shoulder injury.
After all was said and done in 2012, the rise in interceptions and his injury led to concerns of Barkley’s arm strength and decision making, which ultimately found him going into today as a second round projection.
While at USC, Barkley set a slew of school and Pac-12 records, including career touchdowns with 116 to best Matt Leinart, and career passing yardage with 13,327 yards to surpass Carson Palmer.