Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports
USC held its annual Pro Day event on Wednesday, and a swarm of spectators, NFL scouts and media entities alike came out to watch Matt Barkley–and a number of other Trojan athletes–work out at Troy for the last time.
Barkley was obviously the most high-profile of athletes performing for scouts, as no one has seen him throw since he went down in November because of a separated shoulder, and his spot in the 2013 NFL Draft has been in limbo since. But before he put his arm on display, he and his fellow Trojans did a number of field drills first.
In the 40-yard dash event, CB Nickell Robey had the most impressive showing, and that was exactly what he was looking to do. At the NFL Combine in February, Robey ran in the 4.5 range, which he wasn’t entirely satisfied with. On Wednesday, he posted hand-timed marks as low as 4.37 and as high as 4.43. With improved times Robey showed scouts that despite his small size, he is explosive and quick; combined with the athleticism scouts already know he has, expect Robey to be a fourth or fifth-round selection as a slot corner.
For the other athletes that participated in this event, OL Khaled Holmes ran a respectable 5.13, Barkley posted a 4.87, RB Curtis McNeal a 4.62, and DB Jawanza Starling ran a 4.51. WR Robert Woods did not run the 40, though it was originally thought that he would try to improve on the 4.5 time he posted at the Combine.
When it came time for Barkley to throw, he had a bevy of talent to choose from. Wide receivers Robert Woods, Brandon Carswell and Travon Patterson, tight end Dominique Byrd and running back Curtis McNeal all caught balls for the former Trojan quarterback, who completed 56 of 62 passes, according to Michael Lev of the Orange County Register. Holmes–who has been the center for Barkley since the two were in high school–snapped balls for him as well. As he went through his drills, the injury to his shoulder did not appear to be an issue; he threw about as consistently as he did all season, connecting effortlessly on short to medium passes while being slightly less efficient on deep balls.
The most impressive athlete of the day though had to be Robert Woods, who made an incredibly athletic one-handed grab on the sidelines. He really got after in the field drills, much like he did at the Combine. He is know for his crisp route-running and fluid mechanics, and could find himself a first round pick with the performances he has recently put on.
In addition to those previously mentioned, DBs T.J. McDonald, Drew McCallister and Tony Burnett, linemen Wes Horton and Jeremy Galten also worked out for scouts.
31 of the 32 NFL teams attended USC’s Pro Day, with the Washington Redskin being the outlier.
A number of famous Trojan alumni also came out for the event: Tim McDonald, Petros Papadakis, Brandon Hancock, Troy Polamalu, Alex Holmes, Conway, Jeff Bregel and Darnell Bing.