Matt Barkley hit the ground hard last November in a game against UCLA, suffering a Grade 3 shoulder separation and ending his senior season. With concerns about his arm lingering as the NFL Draft approaches, Barkley told Sports Illustrated's Peter King he is prepared to prove his arm is ready for action during his Pro Day in Los Angeles.
No one expected Barkley to throw at the NFL Combine. His throwing shoulder was not surgically repaired, and while he is doing well in his rehab, the injury isn't completely healed. He did manage to impress scouts during his interview sessions. Now he will have to wow everyone when he throws in front of NFL personnel.
Barkley told King he's been throwing for a week and a half. "I've definitely gained some zip on the ball. I'm rehabbing really seriously, like guys do after they have Tommy John [elbow surgery], and I believe I'll be able to throw the ball better than before I was injured. I've been able to really refine and improve my throwing motion," he said.
His senior season was disappointing even before the injury. It's difficult to predict where Barkley will be drafted at this point with so many questions surrounding his arm. The young quarterback seems confident though about his ability to get back to top form. "My Pro Day will dispel those myths about my arm,'' he said.
USC's Pro Day is set for March 27. Barkley will need to show he can throw the ball without limitation to boost his draft stock.
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