Matt Barkley Angers NFL Personnel and Josh Smith Still Waits For a New Team

By Debbie B.

For college football players on the the road to the NFL, their next stop is this week’s NFL Scouting Combine. One of its usual hot topics is the newest crop of quarterbacks but for 2013, it’s a weak group. And one player adding fuel to this fire is USC quarterback Matt Barkley.

On the mend from his shoulder injury, Barkley previously said he would throw at the Combine but changed his mind this week. And now NFL personnel are dissing the player.

The NBA trade deadline is hours away and Atlanta Hawks Josh Smith is still waiting to hear his future.

Another Lame SoCal Quarterback

USC quarterback Matt Barkley

With a shoulder that is “85-90 percent recovered” and clearance to throw at the March 27 USC Pro Day, Barkley recently announced he would not throw at this week’s Combine.

This has led to some league personnel grumbling–anonymously–about Barkley’s non-throwing decision and the region in general for the quarterbacks that it produces.

Yahoo’s Jason Cole shared one veteran scout’s comments, “Here we go again. Another L.A. movie star quarterback who needs his own day to throw.”

A second team executive added, “And you wonder why guys from Southern California [are bad]? Everything is like they have to draw attention to themselves. … I’m telling you, it’s always [something] with guys from down there … not just USC, the whole area. I don’t know what it is.”

Cole questions the region and reviews NFL quarterbacks from Santa Barbara to San Diego since 1984; for those drafted in the top four rounds, many have not found NFL success.

Here’s a look at Southern California’s first-rounders since 1999: Akili Smith (’99), Kyle Boller (’03), Carson Palmer (’03), J.P. Losman (’04), Alex Smith (’05), Matt Leinart (’06) and Mark Sanchez (’09).

Not an impressive list. Please, don’t forget about Jimmy Clausen (’10), Dan McGwire (’91) and Todd Marinovich (’91) from this area.

Is there something in the SoCal water?  Nope, it may be the training programs.

Former NFL quarterback Warren Moon, a Los Angeles area (Hamilton) high school alum said, “You ask me and it’s the decline of the Los Angeles City programs. Between budget cuts and lack of equipment and all the other things, they just can’t offer the same kind of quality program that we had back when I was [playing in the area]. You have to have development and focus to produce really skill position players like quarterbacks. That doesn’t happen. I see it.”

But it hasn’t been all bad in the last 30 years? There’s former Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway.

Will Barkley continue to follow in his peers latest footsteps? He’ll need a good day in March and for now, he’s been rated as a first-round pick.

Who is Smith’s New Team?

Hawks Josh Smith

With the NBA trade clock ticking, Smith is still very much the subject of trade rumors. Wednesday’s media reports had his top suitors as the Brooklyn Nets, the Milwaukee Bucks and the Phoenix Suns.

Questions for each arise: Can the Bucks afford Smith? Do the Hawks really want Chris Humphries? Once the Suns get Smith, can they afford to keep him?

As for Smith, who’s been with the Hawks since 2004, Wednesday’s game against the Miami Heat may have been his last.

He sounded like a man going to a new team with the following post-game comments via ESPN, “This organization gave me so much over the years. They gave me a chance to [live] my dream … We’ve had a lot of successful seasons, some emotional playoff runs. It’s a lot of positives. I understand it’s a business so whatever happens, happens. No love lost.”

Any team who gets Smith will receive a good player. This year’s stats includes a 17.2-point average, 8.6 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game and 2.1 blocks.

On Wednesday, he said he’s not opposed to the Bucks, who are 150 to 1 to win this year’s NBA Championship but the Nets look more viable at 33 to 1.