FOX Sports NEXT national recruiting analyst Jamie Newberg has been hard at work since the end of the college football season scouting and compiling rankings and projections for this year’s NFL draft. Here is what Newberg had to say about USC prospects waiting to hear their named called.
Matt Barkley, quarterback, 6-foot-2 227 pounds
Newberg has Barkley rated as the second best quarterback in the 2013 draft behind Geno Smith. Although Newberg projects Barkley to be the 30th best player available in the draft, he projects Barkley to be a second round pick based off team needs.
Barkley had a big junior season one year ago and would have likely been the third quarterback taken in last year's draft. But he elected to stay for senior campaign and had a rough fall. Barkley suffered a shoulder injury. By all accounts he had a solid but not great pro day. Up to as many as seven teams are looking for signal callers and Barkley is a guy with four-years of college experience playing in a pro-system and he has a great pedigree. He possesses good arm strength but not great. Barkley is an accurate passer at his best in the short to intermediate game.
Barkley reportedly declined an invitation to attend the NFL draft in New York City. He’ll be watching it all unfold like you and me – from his home. There will be live ESPN cameras in Barkley’s home in Orange County to catch his reaction when he gets the phone call.
Robert Woods, receiver, 6-foot 201 pounds
Newberg ranks Woods as the fourth best receiver available in the 2013 draft behind West Virginia’s Tavon Austin, Tennessee’s Cordarrelle Patterson, and California’s Keenan Allen.
Woods is one of the more polished receivers in this draft. He was a three and out guy at USC after being the top rated wide receiver in the nation. Woods had a magnificent sophomore season with 111 receptions. He has good speed and hands and has the potential to be a No. 1 WR but more likely a No. 2 in the NFL. He’s not blessed with great NFL size but don’t let that fool you. Woods has shown that he can be a monster at this position. He may be the most ready to play now of any of the guys at this position in this class.
Newberg projects Woods as a first round draft choice and thinks he’ll be the 28th pick going to the Houston Texans.
Woods is the most ready to play wide receiver in this draft and Houston needs to find a player to pencil in opposite of Andre Johnson. There are plenty to pick from and Woods is the pick here.
Khaled Holmes, center, 6-foot-3 302 pounds
Newberg ranks Holmes as the fourth best center available in the draft behind Wisconsin’s Travis Frederick, Cal’s Brian Schwenke and Alabama’s Barrett Jones.
Holmes was an offensive guard starter before moving over to center. As a senior he was All-Pac 12. This is a nasty and aggressive offensive line prospect that can really get after it. He moves well and has terrific feet.
T.J. McDonald, safety, 6-foot-2 219 pounds
Newberg has McDonald rated as the 15th best safety available in the draft.
McDonald is a bigger safety prospect who played all four years at USC, starting his final three. This past season he had 112 tackles playing just about everywhere in the Trojan secondary for Monte Kiffin. McDonald is a solid run defender who needs to improve his overall coverage skills.
Nickell Robey, cornerback, 5-foot-7 175 pounds
Newberg ranks Robey as the 20th best cornerback in this year’s draft. Robey showed athleticism during USC’s pro day but often (most likely in an effort to prove his small stature wouldn’t be a shortcoming) out-jumped the receptions (interceptions) he was trying to make and was forced to catch the ball low, often resulting in drops in front of the NFL scouts in attendance.
Robey is a really good athlete, just undersized. But he makes up for his lack of height with a 40.5-inch vertical jump. He’s fast and can be explosive. Robey has a knack for the big play and is always around the ball. He has good cover skills and looks like he could be an ideal slot cornerback in the NFL. He started all three years for the Trojans.
Be sure to check out Jaime Newberg’s complete NFL Draft Central on FOX Sports NEXT for all of the latest on the 2013 NFL Draft.
FOX Sports NEXT NFL Draft Central 2013
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