Barkley's career at USC read like a Hollywood script until the '12 season. The highly regarded prep athlete was the surprising choice by then-head coach Pete Carroll to start the 2009 season after Mark Sanchez elected to enter the 2008 draft. Barkley immediately impressed with his leadership, demonstrating the confidence as a true freshman that normally was reserved for upperclassmen.
He has steadily improved his numbers over his career, completing 60 percent of his passes in 2009 for 2,735 yards and 15 touchdowns (14 interceptions), 63 percent in 2010 for 2,791 yards and 26 touchdowns (12 interceptions) and 69 percent as a junior for 3,528 yards, 39 touchdowns and just seven interceptions. His completion percentage dropped back to 63.6 in 2012 and while he was on pace (36) to set a career high in touchdowns thrown, he also saw his interceptions double (15) and missed two full games.
There is no getting around Barkley's lack of ideal measureables and that there have been more busts than hits from USC quarterbacks in recent years. Scouts, however, value Barkley's leadership, poise and accuracy on the move.
He spent the majority of the pre-draft process trying to prove his shoulder is healthy and that he has the arm strength to make all the necessary NFL throws.
WEAKNESSES: Shorter than scouts would like. Listed at 6-2 by USC and might measure shorter than that during pre-draft events. Has average arm strength overall, which could limit his effectiveness in games played in less-than-ideal weather (something that rarely occurred in southern California). Highly confident passer who will test tight windows and could get an unwelcomed introduction to the difference in speed between the Pac-12 and NFL levels.
COMPARES TO: Matt Hasselbeck, QB, Colts -- Grit, mobility and accuracy to the short and intermediate levels made Hasselbeck a Pro Bowler in Seattle despite possessing less than ideal arm strength. Barkley is more advanced entering the NFL but needs to be surrounded by plentiful talent.