While Rex Ryan was getting to know Margus Hunt at SMU’s pro day, the Jets also were keeping tabs on USC quarterback Matt Barkley.
Jets QBs coach David Lee attended Barkley’s pro day Wednesday in Southern California. A host of teams sent representatives to USC, including the Raiders and Jaguars – teams that have several question marks at quarterback heading into this season and, more importantly, have higher draft picks than the Jets.
It seems like just yesterday, Rex Ryan laid eyes on another popular USC quarterback: Mark Sanchez. Despite members of the personnel department advocating for the team to draft former Kansas State QB Josh Freeman in 2009, Ryan had his heart set on Sanchez.
And, well, we all know how that turned out.
The Jets were one of nine teams to meet formally with Barkley during at last month’s NFL combine. The USC quarterback didn’t participate in drills because of a shoulder injury.
While West Virginia’s Geno Smith is expected to be the first QB taken in this year’s draft, it’s unclear where Barkley will fall. Last month, he seemed poised to be picked behind Smith – but other quarterbacks, like E.J. Manuel and Ryan Nassib have opened some eyes in recent weeks.
Barkley received mixed reviews from NFL Network analysts after his pro day.
“There’s no knock,” said draft expert Mike Mayock, adding he would have liked to see tighter spirals from Barkley. “His arm strength is what I thought it was. It’s good. It’s just not elite.”
While Mayock said every pass underneath and between the hashes looked “great,” fellow analyst Daniel Jeremiah said: “You just want to see a little more giddy up to use a baseball term. You want to see a little more life on his fastball.”
Mayock also timed Barkley at 4.95 and 4.97 in the 40-yard dash.
NFL Network’s Charles Davis said Barkley “did a good job,” but noted it wasn’t enough to “knock Geno Smith off his pedestal.”