While most updated mock drafts have the Arizona Cardinals taking offensive tackle Eric Fisher (Central Michigan), offensive tackle Luke Joekel (Texas A&M) or guard Chance Warmack (Alabama) with the No. 7 overall pick in April's draft, it seems another prospect might have done enough in the interview process to pique the interest of Steve Keim and Co. at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.
According to NFL.com analyst Daniel Jeremiah, USC quarterback Matt Barkley made quite a first impression with the Cardinals' Combine contingent.
This week in Indy always spawns several rumors. One such rumor has the Cardinals being very interested in Barkley. I've been told this exact same piece of information from a few different sources. According to one source, the Cardinals were extremely impressed with the USC quarterback during his interview this week.
Barkley at No. 7 seemed plausible following his 2011 campaign with the Trojans. As a junior, the Orange County native led USC to a 10-2 record and threw for 3,528 yards and a Pac-12 record 39 touchdowns. However during the Trojans' disappointing 7-6 campaign in 2012, Barkley saw his numbers (3,273 yards, 36 touchdowns and a career-high 15 interceptions) and his draft stock steadily decline.
To make matters worse, Barkley suffered a season-ending separated right shoulder in a late-season loss to rival UCLA. The injury kept Barkley out of USC's bowl game and prevented him from throwing for teams in Indianapolis this week.
While Barkley appears to be making the most out of his Combine experience, the former Trojan likely still has some work to do at USC's Pro Day on March 27.
Although it's not terribly surprising that Barkley reportedly said all the right things during his Combine interview with Arizona, the question still remains: Can the Cardinals afford to take a quarterback with the No. 7 overall pick in a year where the draft class isn't full of elite talent at the position?