Trojan Draft Stock Watch

Written by Eric Stoner on September 29, 2011

Which USC Trojans have seen their stocks surge or precipitously slide during the last couple weeks? Eric Stoner takes a look in his Trojan Draft Stock Watch.


Have thoughts or questions about Eric’s breakdown? Make sure to share them in the comments section below or over at the Draft Breakdown message board.


Matt Barkley


We’re now four games into the new college football season.  Many expected Barkley to continue his development and stake his claim as both one of the top QBs in college football and as a top draft pick.


As of now, however, there are more questions than answers.  In his freshman and sophomore seasons, his play really dipped in the 4th quarter of games and towards the end of the season – so USC had him focus on getting in better shape, getting stronger, etc.  It’s been more of the same so far this season for Barkley, though, as his 4th quarter performance continues to be abysmal.


In terms of physical tools, he’s got light feet, can move around, and has an arm that’s good enough.  He’s all screwed up

mechanically, though.  He fails to drive off his front foot when beginning his drop from under center, has an awkward, bow-legged drop and set-up, and tends to short arm passes instead of following through – leading to inaccurate throws down the field.


Another thing I’ve noticed about Barkley is that it seems like the USC staff goes out of their way to protect him. The playcalling is very “safe” for lack of a better word – not to say that’s a bad thing, but it makes evaluating QB play more difficult. I’ve noticed a substantive effort to to roll him out to the field (the wide side) and an inordinate number of throws into the boundary (the short side). Anything deep is manufactured off of play action. A heavy boundary/field split and aggressiveness only out of play action usually suggests that a coach doesn’t trust his personnel. It’s likely a combination of not trusting Barkley to make stick throws in tight windows (not to say he has a WEAK arm, but he can’t consistently drive the ball) and a terrible offensive line. Tough to draw a definitive conclusion, but it’s one more thing to keep an eye on going forward.


All in all, I continue to maintain that Barkley is virtually the same prospect Mark Sanchez was coming out.  Passable arm, light feet, sloppy mechanics.  He’ll likely be overdrafted because of pedigree and the unquantifiable “it” factor that people love to throw around, but can’t define.



Matt Kalil


I’ve watched every snap of Kalil’s through the first four weeks.  He’s an elite physical talent.  He has a violent punch, light feet, and an elite quick set.  I’ve seen him floor a defensive end using just one arm.  He’s a future top five pick.


That’s not to say that he’s a flawless or perfect prospect, however.  He’s good for a missed assignment or two every game.  He doesn’t finish blocks or find secondary targets – he’s way too content to “pop and position” in the run game and then turn to watch the ball carrier.  I can’t count how many times I’ve watched his man get blocked out of the play and then make the tackle five or six yards downfield.  He’s also displays lazy tendencies when blocking from the backside – he’ll let defensive ends cross his face instead of sealing them off and/or working his way up to the second level.


These are all effort issues and aren’t a reflection of his talent.  I’ve said on Twitter before that he looks like he already knows he’s a future top-five pick and is either bored by his competition or is going overboard to protect himself.  Either way, an NFL coach should light a fire and get the most out of him.



Nick Perry


Perry’s been incredibly productive through the first four game of the season, picking up two sacks, drawing multiple holding calls, and pressuring the quarterback often


He’s listed at 6’3″ 260 lbs and reportedly runs a 4.6.  I don’t see that 40 time translated into on-field athleticism (most notably, his burst off the ball is average at best).


However, he plays with great leverage and natural strength.  He’s very effective at utilizing the bull rush and has a couple of moves which stem from that.  Once he learns how to use his hands better, the sky is the limit for him.  He’s also a very good run defender – his strength really helps him


to choke technique bigger offensive tackles who try to base block him.


Normally, I’d be concerned about his burst off the line.  However, I had the same concern about Ryan Kerrigan last year, and he and Perry are very similar as prospects in terms of their measurables, skillset, playing style, and tenacity.



TJ McDonald


I was very underwhelmed by McDonald early in the season.  He didn’t look all that physical and seemed unwilling to mix it up and play aggressively and displayed poor zone awareness in the passing game.  Over the last two weeks, though, he appears to have shaken the offseason rust off.  He’s been flying to the ball and making big, aggressive hits.


He still needs to work on taking better angles to the football and wrapping up ball carriers.  Too often, he wants to just lower his head and launch himself into people – a la former Florida Gator Reggie Nelson.


I still need to go to a game to see him live to get a better feel for his zone awareness and coverage ability, as it’s difficult to evaluate safety play on a TV broadcast.




Chris Galippo


I almost feel as if I’m wasting my time doing a Galippo write-up.  Quite frankly, he’s not a draftable prospect and is a liability to the USC defense.  The USC defense has given up a lot of big runs this year and Galippo is a huge part of that.


He either doesn’t understand how to make offensive line reads or simply isn’t coachable.  He spends his Saturdays reading the opposing backfield and running himself out of plays.  He’s also incredibly slow, so once he makes the wrong read, he’s completely taken out of the play.



Underclassmen to Watch for Future Drafts


Hayes Pullard, RS Frosh, OLB: Quite frankly, I feel like he’s the second best player on USC”s defense (behind Perry).  A converted safety, Pullard flies around the field and is always around the football.  He’s going to be one hell of a WLB Tampa Two prospect when he decides to come out.


Nickell Robey, Soph, CB: I see a little Antoine Winfield when I watch Robey.  He’s undersized (5’8″, 165 lbs), but is absolutely fearless when it comes to tackling bigger WRs and coming up in run support.  Has a future in the NFL as a nickelback.


Robert Woods, Soph, WR: Do I even need to write anything?  He looks like an NFL receiver already – runs low to the ground, doesn’t raise his hips and lose speed out of breaks, catches everything.  The entire USC offense revolves around him.  He’ll make a better pro than college WR (if that’s even imaginable) because he won’t be carrying such a ridiculous workload.

Eric Stoner

Eric has been writing for Draft Breakdown for two years now, contributing by writing scouting reports, cutting video, and blogging about college football and the NFL. He was raised by a football coach and, as such, was forced to cut tape and chart personnel at an age that violates California labor law. A legal assistant by day, Eric also writes for Rotoworld NFL Draft and the SB Nation Jaguars Blog, Big Cat Country.

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