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NFL Draft: USC quarterback Matt Barkley likely to be late-1st or 2nd-round pick

Southern Californiquarterback Matt Barkley gets set pass during NFL Pro Day University Southern CaliforniWednesday March 27 2013 Los Angeles. (AP

Southern California quarterback Matt Barkley gets set to pass during NFL Pro Day at the University of Southern California, Wednesday, March 27, 2013, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

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QUARTERBACKS

With Jay Cutler playing out the last year of his contract, the Bears could be in the market for a quarterback of the future.

‘‘Jay’s contract status doesn’t impact it; I’d like to find a quarterback every year,’’ Bears general manager Phil Emery said. ‘‘Obviously, I don’t see that you can have a winning franchise and a championship franchise without a high-quality quarterback, so you want to give yourself as many chances as possible.

‘‘They’re also very valuable from a trade perspective. You see how Matt Flynn has bounced around from Green Bay, as an example. So if we can find a quarterback every year, and we had the picks to do that, we would do that.’’

The Bears don’t have the picks to do that — they only have five and are unlikely to use No. 20 or No. 50 overall on a quarterback. But they could acquire more if they trade down.

The Bears have veteran Josh McCown and second-year pro Matt Blanchard backing up Cutler. McCown is not a long-term solution. Blanchard is an undrafted free agent who hasn’t taken a snap in the NFL.

FIVE OF INTEREST

EJ Manuel, Florida State: Great athlete at 6-5, 235 pounds who can drop back and run the ball, Manuel is a leader and a winner — 26-4 as a starter, 4-0 in bowl games.

Tyler Wilson, Arkansas: Numbers suffered after Bobby Petrino was fired. With his arm and moxie, he could flourish with proper coaching.

Landry Jones, Oklahoma: Played in an up-tempo system as a four-year starter, but his stock has dropped since the end of his junior season.

Mike Glennon, North Carolina State: A well-schooled, smart drop-back passer, the 6-7 Glennon threw for 62 TDs in two seasons.

Tyler Bray, Tennessee: Has size (6-6, 230), a strong arm and a quick release. Consistency and ability to win with more than his arm are question marks.

THE THREE BEST

Geno Smith, West Virginia: Prolific passer who threw for 8,585 yards, 73 TDs and 13 INTs the last two seasons. Could go in the top five or second round.

Matt Barkley, USC: Another hit-or-miss prospect with questionable arm strength who could be another overrated USC product. Or somebody who rises to another level in the right system.

Ryan Nassib, Syracuse: Played in a pro-style offense under Doug Marrone, now the Buffalo Bills’ coach. Jon Gruden says he’s the No. 1 quarterback in the draft.

THE THREE SLEEPERS

Zac Dysert, Miami (Ohio): Hard to overlook a prolific MAC quarterback. Broke Ben Roethlisberger’s school record for career passing yards (12,013).

Matt Scott, Arizona: Only started for one year, but he’s the right guy at the right time — a dual-threat QB with an accurate arm and a lot of potential.

Seth Doege, Texas Tech: Knocked as a ‘‘system’’ quarterback, the 6-1, 205-pound Doege has the will that might make him more than that.

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Updated: April 21, 2013 9:35PM



The next player who regrets staying in school after his draft stock plummets probably will be the first. So it’s no surprise USC quarterback Matt Barkley wouldn’t change a thing.

‘‘No, no regrets that I came back last year,’’ Barkley said at the NFL combine. ‘‘Haven’t looked back once. Wouldn’t change my USC career for anything.’’

It’s difficult to define just how much Barkley lost by returning to USC for his senior year. After a stellar junior season, he was rated by some draft analysts among the top 10 players in the draft. ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. rated Barkley with Robert Griffin III and said it’s unlikely he would’ve lasted past the Cleveland Browns at No. 4 (the Browns took Oklahoma State’s Brandon Weeden).

After a less impressive senior season that was cut short by a separated shoulder, Barkley is a wild card, at best, this year. The Bills might like him at No. 8. But more likely, Barkley will be a late-first-round or second-round pick.

NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock disputed the notion that Barkley would’ve been a top-10 pick last year once he went through the draft process (the Senior Bowl, scouting combine, pro day and workouts). So it’s possible Barkley might end up having lost little or nothing.

‘‘I think Barkley is still going to go somewhere in the first round, probably in the bottom third,’’ Mayock said. ‘‘I’m not sure where yet, but I think it’s probably some team trading up from the top of the second to the bottom of the first to get him.’’

Barkley did not throw at the combine because of his shoulder injury, but his stock appears to be on the rise after an impressive performance at his pro day. He’s rated No. 2 at his position behind West Virginia’s Geno Smith. His arm strength is still a question, and he’s not a runner. But he has big hands, throws accurately on the run and has the intangibles NFL teams want.

QUARTERBACKS

With Jay Cutler playing out the last year of his contract, the Bears could be in the market for a quarterback of the future.

‘‘Jay’s contract status doesn’t impact it; I’d like to find a quarterback every year,’’ Bears general manager Phil Emery said. ‘‘Obviously, I don’t see that you can have a winning franchise and a championship franchise without a high-quality quarterback, so you want to give yourself as many chances as possible.

‘‘They’re also very valuable from a trade perspective. You see how Matt Flynn has bounced around from Green Bay, as an example. So if we can find a quarterback every year, and we had the picks to do that, we would do that.’’

The Bears don’t have the picks to do that — they only have five and are unlikely to use No. 20 or No. 50 overall on a quarterback. But they could acquire more if they trade down.

The Bears have veteran Josh McCown and second-year pro Matt Blanchard backing up Cutler. McCown is not a long-term solution. Blanchard is an undrafted free agent who hasn’t taken a snap in the NFL.

FIVE OF INTEREST

EJ Manuel, Florida State: Great athlete at 6-5, 235 pounds who can drop back and run the ball, Manuel is a leader and a winner — 26-4 as a starter, 4-0 in bowl games.

Tyler Wilson, Arkansas: Numbers suffered after Bobby Petrino was fired. With his arm and moxie, he could flourish with proper coaching.

Landry Jones, Oklahoma: Played in an up-tempo system as a four-year starter, but his stock has dropped since the end of his junior season.

Mike Glennon, North Carolina State: A well-schooled, smart drop-back passer, the 6-7 Glennon threw for 62 TDs in two seasons.

Tyler Bray, Tennessee: Has size (6-6, 230), a strong arm and a quick release. Consistency and ability to win with more than his arm are question marks.

THE THREE BEST

Geno Smith, West Virginia: Prolific passer who threw for 8,585 yards, 73 TDs and 13 INTs the last two seasons. Could go in the top five or second round.

Matt Barkley, USC: Another hit-or-miss prospect with questionable arm strength who could be another overrated USC product. Or somebody who rises to another level in the right system.

Ryan Nassib, Syracuse: Played in a pro-style offense under Doug Marrone, now the Buffalo Bills’ coach. Jon Gruden says he’s the No. 1 quarterback in the draft.

THE THREE SLEEPERS

Zac Dysert, Miami (Ohio): Hard to overlook a prolific MAC quarterback. Broke Ben Roethlisberger’s school record for career passing yards (12,013).

Matt Scott, Arizona: Only started for one year, but he’s the right guy at the right time — a dual-threat QB with an accurate arm and a lot of potential.

Seth Doege, Texas Tech: Knocked as a ‘‘system’’ quarterback, the 6-1, 205-pound Doege has the will that might make him more than that.



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