Quarterback Matt Barkely has lost a little bit of his shine heading into this year’s draft after a disappointing senior campaign with the Trojans.
However, the USC product still believes he’s the best quarterback in the draft, even though most draft analysts have West Virginia’s Geno Smith rated ahead of him.
It seems unlikely the Seahawks would take a quarterback like Barkley in the first round because Seattle would have to move up to get him, and they already have a potential franchise quarterback in Russell Wilson.
Still, Carroll has a good relationship with Barkley. He started him as a true freshman while serving as the head coach at USC. Carroll compared Barkley to Wilson in terms of his knack for being clutch in late-game situations, along with his competitive nature.
“It allowed me to grow up fairly quickly, and face the fire,” Barkley said about Carroll naming him the starter as a true freshman. “I learned a lot that freshman year. I had some great moments, had some not-so-great moments. But just that game experience I think helped me leading into my sophomore year. And I still remember things to this day about that year, in terms of game situations and handling adversity, that I’ve brought with me to help me over my career.”
For his part, Barkley said he’s not looking to come into the league as a backup.
“It would be an opportunity to learn,” Barkley said. “But my plan, and what I hope to do is to start right away, and to make an impact right away. So we’ll see what happens, and where I end up. But my goal is to be playing come September.”
Barkley measured in at 6-2 ½ and 227 pounds. His hand length was 10 1/8. Barkley will not throw at the combine because he’s still rehabbing from shoulder surgery, but he’s expected to be fully healed by the time his pro day comes around on March 27, and will throw then.
Barkley also was asked about the trend of read option quarterbacks having success in the NFL the last two years. Barkley said he considers himself more of a pocket passer, and that there will always be a need for signal callers who can consistently make plays from the pocket.
“I think the NFL you’re always going to have to be a passer,” he said. “It’s a passing game. And as much as the read option is successful, I think the Super Bowl-winning quarterback is similar to how I play. And that style and that tradition, I don’t think that will ever fade.”