Even though USC quarterback Matt Barkley said otherwise two weeks ago, he will not throw at the 2013 NFL combine. The official reason: he's still rehabbing an injury to his throwing shoulder -- except that ESPN's Adam Schefter reported earlier this week that Barkley's shoulder is "85-90 percent recovered" and he has already been cleared to throw at the Trojans' pro day on March 27.
Given the dearth of elite quarterbacks in the 2013 NFL Draft and the general perception that quarterbacks who don't throw at the combine are hiding something, it's not surprising that some personnel types are grousing about Barkley's decision.
"Here we go again. Another L.A. movie star quarterback who needs his own day to throw," a veteran scout told Yahoo.com's Jason Cole recently.
"And you wonder why guys from Southern California [are bad]?" a veteran team executive added, referring to both the region and the school. "Everything is like they have to draw attention to themselves. … I'm telling you, it's always [something] with guys from down there … not just USC, the whole area. I don't know what it is."
That's not hyperbole, either. Cole lists all the quarterbacks from the region (either high school or college) who were drafted in the top four rounds, and the results are something. For an idea of what the executive was talking about, we'll list the SoCal first-rounders going back to 1999: Akili Smith ('99), Kyle Boller ('03), Carson Palmer ('03), J.P. Losman ('04), Alex Smith ('05), Matt Leinart ('06) and Mark Sanchez ('09).
Not exactly a Who's Who of former Hall of Fame enshrinees.
So at least two NFL personnel guys aren't super-psyched by Barkley's decision. And that's fine. But it's also OK that Barkley has opted against throwing in Indy to a bunch of players that he has never worked with before. Put another way: is there more to lose or gain by Barkley winging the ball all over Lucas Oil Stadium? Or would it be more prudent, at least from the perspective of those representing him, to let Barkley show what he can do in the controlled environs of a pro day?
Despite the skepticism, Barkley remains one of the best options for quarterback-needy teams. In fact, he's NFLDraftScout.com's No. 2-rated quarterback and a projected first-round pick (Rob Rang has Barkley going seventh overall to the Cardinals in his most recent mock draft.)