Preseason Player Profile: Matt Barkley

-In a year where quarterback may be one of the deepest positions, Matt Barkley will have to fight off Tyler Wilson, Tyler Bray, and Logan Thomas if he wants to remain the top-ranked quarterback prospect.

-While Barkley does benefit from an impressive stable of receivers, they do not carry him. He has a very strong arm that can make all the NFL throws.

-Barkley will never be a threat with his legs. Having said that, Barkley can scramble and extend a play, but he will never opt to run when he has a decent chance at a completion.

-When Barkley is out of the pocket anything can happen. He isn’t going to just lob it up into double coverage, but he takes a lot of chances with one-on-one coverage. Whenever he rolls out another thing to watch is his ball trajectory. Barkley will often throw the ball at a downward angle that makes it tough for tight ends and running backs to catch.

-Very impressive deep touch. He lays balls out just long enough for his receivers to grab in stride, but not so far that they have to consistently dive to get them.

- It is really hard to find a stretch of plays where he doesn’t challenge a defense deep, which makes me question how well he could work without a true number one WR. You don’t often see him walk his offense down the field for a long methodical drive. The passing game seems to be predicated on throwing deep to set up bubble screens and quick slants. Again, not a problem if he goes to a team with a deep threat like Jacksonville or Arizona, but I see no help for him in Cleveland now.

-Beautiful fade throws. Again, it helps to have Woods and Lee, but don’t take anything away from Barkley because those passes are thrown to where only his guy can get it.

-I wanted to find some flaws in Barkley’s game but after watching ten games there just aren’t that many to find. He benefits from smart offensive play calling and two stellar wide receivers, but there is too much to like about him. He doesn’t put too much air under his deep balls, he throws some of the best “outside-the-numbers” passes I have seen, he knows how to extend a play with his legs despite his lack of athleticism, he understand where his reads are, and he doesn’t stare down targets. If I had to pick out a flaw or two I would say that I wish I could see him go on a few more 12 play drives. Another possible flaw is his “gunslinger” mentality, which just means he loves the deep pass a little too much for his own good. I would have no problem with the Cardinals or Jaguars drafting him number one overall as of June 22, 2012, but if you are a Cleveland or a Miami without a clear number one WR then I would be a little wary of making this pick.

About Will Lomas

Grew up in a town in Tennessee named Dyersburg, and played ball there. When I realized I was too small to play college ball, I found my passion in breaking down game film, analyzing athletes, and finding the little things that decides whether a player is good, bad, or great.