Matt Barkley's draft stock was in free fall for much of the 2012 season. In his final year with the USC Trojans, his team underperformed, and he was largely blamed for their lackluster year. To Barkley's credit, he's kept his head up, and now he's beginning to look like an interview gem.
Peter King of Sports Illustrated talked to Barkley about his trip to the Manning brothers' Passing Academy last July, and Barkley was quick to make a lighthearted yet oh-so-true comment.
"I learned a valuable lesson from Peyton, about sometimes you have to be a dick. Doing what is asked is not enough to win in the NFL, I know that. You've got to do more. And I intend to."
King elaborated on that point, "In other words, if players don't want to work out in the offseason, you tell them there's no option; you tell them when and where to be somewhere. Now, maybe that doesn't happen in the first year. But a quarterback has to have the respect and authority to make sure players do what's necessary, particularly in these days of less intense offseason programs. NFL players are off until mid-April now. Next year, wherever he is, Barkley's going to have to get his guys in gear to work out somewhere before that."
Despite the popular view that Barkley won't be taken inside the top ten in April's draft, he's done and said nothing wrong throughout the 2012 season and subsequent offseason. He didn't do much on the field to help his own draft stock during the season, but in interviews he's been stellar. The final test for Barkley will come when he actually gets to throw for scouts. He'll be doing so on his terms. He'll likely be throwing to USC receivers, and conditions will be perfect for him. If he delivers a solid pro day, he could jump back up draft boards across the NFL.