USC held its Pro Day. And while it may be a slight exaggeration to say that the NFL hopefuls from USC excelled beyond expectations, the expectations were slightly high.
Let's start with low expectations. Wide receiver Robert Woods had a lot to gain. He impressed with his ability to catch the ball.
Unfortunately, he did not impress with his 40-yard time. At the Combine Woods ran a 4.51. On his Pro Day he ran a 4.87.
Marcellus Wiley was not impressed as he tweeted: "Robert Woods just ran a 4.87 at his Pro Day after running a 4.51 at the Combine? No way he's slower than me."
But by all accounts Woods did help his draft status. NFL Network predicts, he is now a solid second round choice.
Not so much for the passer and centerpiece of USC's Pro Day, Matt Barkley.
Barkley hasn't thrown a pass since his injury November 14 versus UCLA.
Even before the injury there were questions regarding Barkley's arm strength. There were never questions regarding his football IQ. Barkley needed this Pro Day. He needed to regain the status as the No. 1 quarterback in a lackluster quarterback class.
This was not his day.
Barkley ran an unofficial 5.02 and 4.93 in his 40 according to USC Athletics. If he ran this at the Combine he would have placed eighth among the 13 quarterbacks there. This only confirmed the scouting reports of his limited athletic ability. But other quarterbacks have overcome limited athletic ability with rocket arm strength.
Pro Football Talk put it the best in their tweet: "More than a few Barkley completions were high, and a few times receivers had to slow down in their routes. Not great when no defense."
Barkley competed 56 of 62 passes. The misses were almost consistently on long balls. On long passes the ball tended to flutter. His long passes also lacked accuracy. Barkley did nothing to dissuade the perception that he lacks arm strength.
There were reportedly scouts from all 32 teams. It is safe to believe that teams that depend on the vertical passing game will take a pass on Barkley after his Pro Day. That's a blessing. With his football IQ, footwork and intangibles Barkley will be a starting quarterback in the NFL. Just not on teams that rely on vertical passing games.
His Pro Day just did not put him in the elite status. His Pro Day solidified his status as the No. 2 or 3 quarterback on draft day.
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