USC's Matt Barkley and Worst Projected 1st-Rounders in April's NFL Draft

Tyler PosloskyContributor IIIFebruary 5, 2013

PASADENA, CA - NOVEMBER 17:  Quarterback Matt Barkley #7 of the USC Trojans drops back to pass against the UCLA Bruins in the second half at the Rose Bowl on November 17, 2012 in Pasadena, California. UCLA defeated USC 38-28.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Now that the Super Bowl is history, the focus for all 32 NFL teams turns to the offseason, most importantly, the April draft.

There’s a bundle of talent scattered throughout this year’s draft class. 

Texas A&M offensive tackle Luke Joeckel, Alabama guard Chance Warmack, Georgia linebackers Alec Ogletree and Jarvis Jones and Alabama running back Eddie Lacy are just a handful of potential future NFL stars.

On the other hand, there are also a number of players that will prove to be bigger busts than additions.

The rundown begins with USC quarterback, Matt Barkley. In 2011, Barkley tossed for 39 touchdowns to just seven interceptions, leading the Trojans to a 10-2 record and a 7-2 mark in the Pac-12. But 2012 saw a different version of Barkley.

Though the senior quarterback amassed 36 touchdowns, he threw a career-high 15 interceptions. The preseason top-ranked Trojans proved disastrous. After winning their first two games of the season, the Trojans lost 21-14 to then No. 21 Stanford. Despite winning their next four, the Trojans dropped five of their last six games to conclude the season.

Yes, Barkley was injured and didn’t play in the final two games of the season, but in his last four starts, he threw for 14 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Not exactly eye-popping numbers. 

Barkley is very similar to former USC quarterback Mark Sanchez, who is now the highly scrutinized New York Jets quarterback.

Both Sanchez and Barkley fold under pressure, especially when the game is on the line. And Barkley doesn’t provide many critics with reasons to believe he won’t do the same in the NFL.

Notre Dame star linebacker Manti Te’o has seen his time under the spotlight come and go.

Te’o is a great linebacker with tremendous poise and leadership qualities that NFL scouts, general managers and coaches admire.

But his involvement in one of the biggest hoaxes ever will deter his growth as football player in the NFL. The truth about Te’o’s non-existent girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, had a drastic impact on Te’o during the BCS National Championship, which saw Alabama cruise to a 42-14 victory. Te’o wasn’t the same player we were so accustomed to watching during the regular season. He was missing tackles left and right, and Alabama pummeled him and the rest of the Notre Dame defense. 

One would hope Te’o can put this behind him and move on as a person and as a football player, but the task will be anything but easy.

West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith has a lot of potential as an NFL quarterback but his future team will play a big role in deciding if he is a bust or not. If Oakland drafts Smith, it could be a rough few years for the young quarterback. The Raiders haven’t been the creme of the crop in drafting quarterbacks. Just ask JaMarcus Russell, the 2007 first overall pick by the Raiders, who panned out to be one of the biggest busts in league history.

Smith is talented, but he could be at a big disadvantage starting his career in Oakland.

North Carolina State quarterback Mike Glennon may, in fact, boast the strongest arm of any prospect at his position entering April's draft. 

But a pool of question marks surround him.

Glennon, who threw for 31 touchdowns in 2012, has a tendency to fire the ball into the smallest windows between his receiver and the defender. Can he be trusted to do this every Sunday in the NFL? Odds are, those types of critical passes won’t work in this league, and Glennon will have to alter his mechanics, which could be another downfall for him come draft time.