Matt Barkley: Statistical Scouting Report

Posted on February 1, 2013


See Other Scouting Reports Here:

Geno Smith | Matt Barkley | Tyler Wilson | Mike Glennon

At first, I was reticent to do all the work on Barkley. Last year, before he announced he was staying at USC – I had worked up a lot of the same data. After spending the time on him last year combined with the narrative of a “disappointing” season worked up by the media, I was down on Barkley. I’m glad I decided to look at the stats because they show he really wasn’t much worse than last year.

I’m going to break down Barkley into two parts, this scouting report and another post on Barkley ’12 vs. Barkley ’11. I’m going to break it down the same way I looked at Geno Smith, if you didn’t look at that one – you can take a look at how I described it here.

Where Does He Throw The Ball?

One of the hallmarks of Southern Cal’s offense is the high amount of screens they throw. When you can get it to Marqise Lee and Robert Woods – why would you not? However, let’s see where Barkley is throwing it when he’s not throwing those screens.

  • The USC offense is predicated on short passes. This should be fairly obvious to anyone who’s watched USC through the past few years but 22% of Barkley’s passes were screens and 30% were within 1-5 yards. That total 52% within 5 yards is higher than any other top QB this year and much higher than the “average draftable QB”
  • He doesn’t have much experience throwing deep passes. 17.5% of Barkley’s passes after in the 11-20 yard range, which I like to consider the sweet spot for evaluating a QB’s passing ability. This is substantially lower than what the average QB throws.


What’s His Accuracy Like?

We can’t totally fault Barkley for the scheme he played in though. We can look past the low number of deep passes if he’s making good on the few opportunities he has. As a note, I’ve taken drops out of all these completion percentages to create what I call the Perfect Receiver Rating (PRR). Thus, the overall completion percentages will be higher than what you can find in a standard box score.

  • Barkley is by far, the worst passer in the 1-5 yard range. His 69% completion rating within 5 yards of the Line Of Scrimmage is worse than Geno Smith and Mike Glennon’s by 13%. This of course can be attributed to the fact that Barkley is being asked to throw a lot of difficult slants that Smith and Glennon weren’t asked to throw. However, he’s going to have to make those throws in the NFL
  • On a positive note, he’s average amongst the intermediate zones. His completion percentage in the 6-10 yard and 11-20 ranges are average amongst last year’s QBs. It’s not bad to be average against last year’s QB crop.
  • He’s excellent on deep throws. Part of this can probably be attributed to Lee and Woods, but Barkley is throwing 52% past 20 yards, the only QB this year who was better than last year’s average. Glennon might have the biggest arm, but he didn’t convert as well as Barkley.


Where Are His Incompletions Coming From?

  • He’s throwing into single coverage a lot. This is the most concerning to me, 10% of his passes were deflected after throwing into single coverage. This is one of those things you want to supplement by watching tape, because you wonder if he’s making bad decisions and throwing into tight coverage too much.
  • On overthrows more than underthrows. In terms of misses, 10% of his passes were overthrows while only 5% were underthrows.
  • His receivers were average in terms of drops. At 6.5% drop rate, his receivers were pretty average. That rate is about what you’d expect in both the NCAA and NFL, nothing to see there.


Are There Any Other Positives/ Red Flags

  • Nope. Barkley’s numbers are pretty average across the board. Unlike other QBs such as Wilson and Glennon – there really aren’t any red flags. His completion percentage when under center versus when in shotgun are similar. He’s not particularly bad or great on any specific down or quarter. Here are the charts, so you can judge for yourself.

BarkleyDown BarkQ


Of course, the one positive that comes out of these numbers is the system he’s running. While he’s throwing an obscene amount of passes within 1-5 yards, his completion percentages at the intermediate and deep zones indicate he should be able to translate that to the NFL. The one thing that bugs me is that the NFL rookies were asked to throw 1-5 yard passes, 30% of the time and that’s Barkley’s least accurate pass.

Given the general haplessness of USC this year, including their offensive line and play calling, Barkley’s numbers don’t indicate any huge red flags. He performed very similarly to the previous year and threw a nice deep ball. He compares similarly to Geno Smith in terms of the depth of his throws. Like Geno, he doesn’t have any elite traits but he’s extremely solid in many categories.

**If you’ve liked this, you can follow me at . I have approximately one follower right now, since I just started this up. I do work pretty much every day breaking down prospects and I’ll be tweeting out interesting stats that I come across (today I found out Justin Hunter drops ~10% of his passes), future articles/breakdowns (Dysert, Nassib, Manuel post upcoming), or let you know when I post new things (hopefully a WR post soon) . Thanks a lot!

-Second Round Stats

Posted in: Quarterbacks