One of the biggest marks against USC quarterback prospect Matt Barkley has been his lack of arm strength. That is why many draft pundits scattered across the web have put a low grade on him, doubting that he gets drafted in the first round. He has shown that he likes to check the ball down far too often and can't get enough velocity under his throw for the deep ball.
Those concerns were only made greater after Barkley injured his throwing shoulder towards the latter end of last season. Because of the injury, he was not able to throw at the NFL Combine. Instead, he continues to rehab it and hopes to throw at his Pro Day at USC. And when he does, he says that his arm will be even stronger than it was before.
Barkley talked to The Mighty 1090 in San Diego (hosted by NFL players Philip Rivers and Nick Hardwick) and told them that his rehab is going well and that he plans on wowing some people come Pro Day. Via Sports Radio Interviews:
"I've had some time to recover now and I've been throwing quite some time at this point, to where I've been throwing this week [with] great velocity, great trajectory," Barkley said. "It's starting to feel back to normal. No doubt, by the time pro day comes around, it'll be better than it was before. I think I'll have a stronger arm than I did."
Barkley said that he is working down in Florida right now to improve his footwork and overall strength throughout his body. His USC Pro Day is on March 27, where he will finally be able to show off his newly found arm strength. He cites in his interview that he will be throwing to Robert Woods, a USC teammate that is coming out of school, and some other former USC teammates, which should make him comfortable.
If you recall, Cardinals GM Steve Keim stated that he wants to see quarterbacks come out of their shell and be brought out of their comfort zones. You have to figure that the Cardinals will send some representatives to Barkley's Pro Day and they may ask him to do things or throw to receivers that he is not 100% comfortable with. That will help them determine what kind of grade he should receive and whether or not they are interested in drafting him.
For now, we wait. The USC Pro Day will inevitably tell us a lot -- good or bad -- about how Barkley will stack up in the NFL.