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Matt Barkley won't throw at NFL combine

Representatives of the former USC quarterback, who is recuperating from a shoulder injury, have informed pro teams that he still will attend the event at Indianapolis this week.

February 18, 2013|By Sam Farmer and Gary Klein

The agents for Matt Barkley reportedly have informed NFL teams in a letter that, although the former USC quarterback will attend the scouting combine in Indianapolis this week, he won't be throwing.

Barkley suffered a shoulder injury in November against UCLA and did not play in the Trojans' final two games. He has been rehabilitating under the supervision of Dr. James Andrews, who is based in Alabama, and working out at an IMG training facility.

"Matt has been going through a very disciplined program to get back to 100%," his father, Les, said Monday. "He feels great, but he takes direction from Dr. Andrews."

Les Barkley said his son's intent was to be "absolutely 100% for his pro day" workout at USC on March 27. Barkley is expected to throw to former Trojans receiver Robert Woods.

In recent weeks, Barkley indicated he was on the fence about whether to throw at the combine.

"I don't feel like I have to," he said at the Super Bowl in an interview with ESPN's Colin Cowherd. "We'll see when that time gets closer. It'll probably be more of a game-day decision."

While in Florida to accept an award last week, Barkley called the combine "probably the biggest test of my life," telling the Pensacola News Journal that the two days of physical and mental examinations "is like the SAT times thousands."

Barkley won't be the first to pass on throwing for scouts in Indianapolis in favor of doing so in a more controlled and tailored setting at pro day on his campus. In fact, despite the frustration of teams and the league, the top quarterback prospects frequently choose not to throw.

But Barkley has a great deal to prove, and he's not a shoo-in to be a top-10 pick. This is not a strong quarterback class, and that weighs in his favor. Some draft experts have projected him to go in the second half of the first round, but there are NFL teams who have him rated as a middle-round talent.

Barring a sharp drop in his stock over the next two months, it's hard to imagine Barkley slipping out of the first round. It takes only one quarterback-needy team to believe in him, and the rookie salary structure under the new labor agreement means less money for a first contract and therefore less risk.

Four quarterbacks were taken in the first round in each of the last two drafts, and there have been at least two selected in the opening round of the last 12 drafts.

sam.farmer@latimes.com

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