Is Matt Barkley a First Rounder?

Once considered a top draft pick, University of Southern California quarterback Matt Barkley has seen his draft stock soar and plummet over the past year and a half. Some scouts believe he can play at the next level, while others don't. So what is the deal with Barkely?

A year ago Barkley was projected to be one of the top quarterbacks eligible for the NFL draft alongside Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III. When Barkley decided to remain at USC, he was thought to be the sure-fire number one pick in this upcoming NFL draft. When Barkley's numbers averaged out this past season at USC and the Trojans fell to a 7-6 record after being ranked No. 1 in the pre-season, criticism began. Barkley went from being a top pick on the draft boards to not even the top quarterback on the boards. Some scouts and coaches determined that Barkley wasn't even worth a first round pick.

So here's where I stand with Barkley at this point. I think he can be a successful NFL quarterback. He may not have the strongest arm, but he can play. Aside from his arm strength, Barkley's decision making is questionable at times. I think with time he will make smarter decisions and learn to rely on his playmakers on offense to make plays instead of trying to do too much. He is a perfect candidate to learn under a veteran. Even though I do not think he should be a year-one starter, I would not be surprised if Barkley is drafted in the first round.

[Image: Mark J. Terrill/AP - Sports Illustrated]

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