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Recent posts by Nolan Nawrocki
The following scouting reports were taken from Pro Football Weekly's 2013 Draft Preview book, which is now on sale. You can order it today through the PFW Store, or by calling 1-800-FOOTBALL (Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT).
QB Matt Barkley, #7
PFW Grade: 6.03
Ht: 6-21/2 | Wt: 227 | Sp: 4.95e | Arm: 305/8 | Hand: 101/8
Notes: His father, Les, was an All-American water polo player at USC (1976-79) and brother, Sam, is a hurdler on the USC track team. A four-year starter who threw for 9,487 yards and 78 touchdowns as a California prep. Suffered a broken collarbone in his first year of high school, when he was allowed to call his own plays. Became the first junior to be named Gatorade National Player of the Year in 2007 after throwing for 3,576 yards and 35 touchdowns. Enrolled at USC in time for spring practice in ’09 and was named the starter in the fall as a true freshman. In 12 starts, he completed 211-of-352 pass attempts (59.9 percent) for 2,735 yards with 15 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. Became the first USC true freshman ever to start an opener and the first true freshman to start an opener at QB for an AP Top Five team since Michigan’s Rick Leach in 1975. Missed the Washington game with a bruised right shoulder. Had surgery on his right wrist to relieve stiffness and inflammation prior to ’10 spring practice. In the fall, threw for 236-377-2,791-26-12 (62.6) in 12 starts. Was sidelined for second half of the Oregon State game and against Notre Dame with a high ankle sprain. Had a record-setting ’11 campaign with 308-446-3,528-39-7 (69.1) in 12 starts. Set the Pac-12 record for touchdown passes and broke the school mark for completion percentage. Became the top signalcaller in USC history in ’12 after hitting 246-387-3,273-36-15 (63.6) in 11 starts. Suffered a sprained AC joint (type III) in his throwing (right) shoulder on a hit against UCLA and missed the final two games of his collegiate career. Finished with 20 USC career, season and game marks with 10 also being Pac-12 records. Was the winner of the Wuerffel Trophy, awarded for exemplary community service with athletic and academic achievement. Was USC’s first-ever three-time captain and had a 34-13 record in 47 career starts. Did not work out at the Combine to rest his throwing shoulder.
Positives: Thickly built. Experienced four-year starter in a pro-style offense with progression NFL reads. Terrific football intelligence. Good decision-maker — knows when and where to go with the ball. Throws on balance with a smooth, fluid delivery. Good enough arm strength to connect deep — can drop it in a bucket and showed improved deep accuracy as a senior. Good short-to-intermediate accuracy and overall anticipation. Tough and will deliver with pressure barreling down — good poise and on-field demeanor. Can sidestep the rush and manipulate coverage with his eyes. Outstanding intangibles and leadership traits — commands respect from teammates. Rallied comeback wins throughout his career, from the time he was the first freshman to start for a top-5-ranked team since 1975 against Ohio State, to Oregon (2011) and Utah (2012). Very intelligent with an engaging personality. Team tempo-setter. Can elevate a locker room, uplift an organization and represent a franchise with integrity. Very strong support structure. Is a pro’s pro and football is very important to him. Highly determined.
Negatives: Has short arms and average grip strength (student manager was fired for deflating balls). Does not snap it quickly and spiral is not tight. Heavy-footed and cannot improvise or create with his feet. Cannot easily manipulate his arm and throwing platform under duress and the ball dies when he can’t step into it. Does not drive the ball down the field with high RPMs. Not quick-eyed — many throws are pre-determined at the line, and he will hold the ball too long on some progressions. Can be streaky (see Washington). Never beat Stanford’s pro-style defense in four years.
Summary: A cool, confident, rhythm passer who suffered as a senior behind a leaky, injured offensive line that left little time to throw. Looked much more comfortable as a junior with an elite left tackle. Is slow-footed and could be more prone to injury in the pros and take some time to adapt to live NFL bullets. Leadership traits, strength of character and football IQ will allow to operate at a high level in a play-action passing game with a clean pocket and a talented cast of receivers. Can become a very solid NFL starter and thrive with a strong supporting cast. A cross between Drew Brees and Colt McCoy.
NFL projection: First-round pick.
QB Geno Smith, #12
PFW Grade: 5.39
Ht: 6-23/8 | Wt: 218 | Sp: 4.59 | Arm: 321/2 | Hand: 91/4
Notes: His cousin, Melvin Bratton, was a star running back for the Miami Hurricanes in the late 1980s. The Florida prep was a Parade All-American selection after throwing for over 3,000 yards and 32 touchdowns. Saw limited action in five games as a true freshman in 2009, completing 32-of-49 passes for 309 yards (65.3 percent) with one touchdown and one interception while playing through a broken fifth metatarsal in his left foot for part of the season. Took over as the starter in ’10 and tossed 241-372-2,763-24-7 (64.8) in 13 starts. Was the first West Virginia QB in 12 years to throw for over 2,500 yards in a season. Garnered heavy recognition for ’11 season, setting the Big East Conference and school mark for passing yards with 346-526-4,385-31-7 (65.8), in addition to becoming the first Mountaineer QB in history and only the second Big East player to surpass 4,000 yards in a season in 13 starts. Named Orange Bowl MVP after throwing for 407 yards and six touchdowns against Clemson. Set the school record and led the Big 12 Conference in touchdown passes in ’12 after tossing 369-518-4,205-42-6 (a conference-leading 71.2) in 13 starts. Threw for 656 yards and eight touchdowns in a 70-63 shootout victory against Baylor. Had a 26-13 record in 39 career starts.
Positives: Has a strong arm and can rifle the ball with good velocity into tight windows. Can throw with accuracy on the move and layer the deep ball. Good overall accuracy, ball placement and touch, especially on the fade route. Throws a very catchable ball — spins it tightly. Good escapability — can sidestep the rush, find an open throwing window and extend plays with his feet when needed. Outstanding straight-line speed — clocked the best 40-yard time (4.56 seconds) and broad jump (10-foot-4) of any quarterback at the Combine. Very durable, experienced, three-year starter — overcame an average offensive line, has never missed any time to injury and will play through pain.
Negatives: Operated an offense where he received adjustments from the sidelines and was often out of sync with receivers. Average field vision and coverage recognition — forces throws and does not work through progressions. Takes unnecessary sacks and does not feel pressure well. Not an elusive scrambler. Shaky lower-body mechanics — does not stand tall in the pocket (crouches, hops, dances and elevates to his toes when he throws). Has pin legs and bad pocket posture. Operated almost exclusively from the gun. Not a student of the game. Nonchalant field presence — does not command respect from teammates and cannot inspire. Mild practice demeanor — no urgency. Not committed or focused — marginal work ethic. Interviewed poorly at the Combine and did not show an understanding of concepts on the white board. Opted not to compete at the Senior Bowl and has approached offseason training as if he has already arrived and it shows in his body with minimal muscle definition or strength. Has small hands and glaring ball security issues (32 career fumbles). Really struggled handling the snow in Pinstripe Bowl (took two safeties) and will be troubled by the elements. Needed to be coddled in college — cannot handle hard coaching.
Summary: Started the season red-hot with the help of two playmaking receivers and created a national stir generating a lot of overexcitement in the scouting community. Quickly came down to earth after Kansas State disguised coverages and brought pressure he could not handle and he finished dropping six of his final eight games. A cross between Akili Smith and Aaron Brooks, Smith is a gimmick, overhyped product of the system lacking the football savvy, work habits and focus to cement a starting job and could drain energy from a QB room. Will be overdrafted and struggle to produce against NFL defensive complexities.
NFL projection: Top-50 pick.
These scouting reports were taken from Pro Football Weekly's 2013 Draft Preview book, which is now on sale. You can order it today through the PFW Store, or by calling 1-800-FOOTBALL (Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT).