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Barkley, Woods And Robey Shine During USC's Pro Day

Salomon Fuentes |
March 27, 2013 | 6:43 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

Matt Barkley throwing a pass to running back Curtis McNeal (Danny Lee/Neon Tommy)
Matt Barkley throwing a pass to running back Curtis McNeal (Danny Lee/Neon Tommy)
With positioning in the 2013 NFL Draft and potentially millions of dollars on the line, USC’s pro day on Wednesday offered the last opportunity for Matt Barkley, Robert Woods, T.J. McDonald, Curtis McNeal, Nickell Robey and other former Trojan stars to show NFL scouts their best stuff.

Dozens of scouts representing 31 of the 32 NFL teams were on hand at Cromwell Field as players ran in the 40-yard-dash, did shuttle drills and caught and threw passes.

After missing the last two games of the 2012 season with a shoulder injury and missing the NFL combine last month, Barkley had the most to gain from the workout and threw 62 passes, including several accurate deep tosses indicating the quarterback was back at full strength. He was also clocked at 4.93 seconds in the 40-yard-dash.

“I think today was just proof that I still have an arm and that I still could throw and make those passes downfield,” Barkley said.

Wide receiver Robert Woods did not take part in the 40-yard dash after running a 4.51 time at the combine, but did run multiple routes and caught passes from Barkley. 

“Me and Matt, we’re pretty much a unit,” Woods said, emphasizing their three years together at USC. "For me to do well, Matt has to do well. So we both came out here and I think we did pretty well.”

COLUMN: Where does Barkley's draft stock stand?

Both players are thought to be first- or second-round picks, with Barkley still potentially being the first quarterback taken in the draft, despite a tumultuous 2012 campaign.

Another player who had something to show at the pro day was cornerback Nickell Robey. His deciscion to declare early for the draft as a junior surprised some given he was not pegged to be taken in the first three rounds.

Cornerback Nickell Robey catching a pass during a defensive backs drill (Danny Lee/Neon Tommy)
Cornerback Nickell Robey catching a pass during a defensive backs drill (Danny Lee/Neon Tommy)
“I did better than I did before,” Robey said, referring to his 40-time clocked at 4.44 seconds, a significant improvement over his 4.53 time at the combine.

“That’s what the scouts were talking about. They were pretty impressed with everything I did at the combine. They just wished I had a better 40 and I came out here and did that.”

Safety T.J. McDonald only participated in the shuttle and defensive backs drill, but he showed excellent agility and ball-hawk potential during his workouts. Factoring in his performance at the combine, McDonald is also considered a safe first- or second-round pick.

With brother-in-law and Trojan legend Troy Polamalu in attendance, offensive lineman Khaled Holmes ran a 5.36 40-time and managed a 29 1/2-inch vertical. More importantly, Holmes seemed to be recovered from a strained pectoral muscle he suffered at the combine.

PHOTOS: See more from pro day

For running back Curtis McNeal, versatility was a key component of his workouts. McNeal clocked in at 4.62 in the 40-yard dash and caught passes from Barkley, in an effort to show scouts a complete game.

"I think the last drill I did the best because I showed I can catch the ball, I showed I can run routes,” McNeal said. “Especially with the new game in the NFL, running backs need to catch the ball and I showed... I’m capable of playing at the next level.”

Defensive end Wes Horton ran a 4.87 40-time and did 24 reps on the bench press, potentially boosting his chances of being drafted in later rounds.

The turf at Cromwell proved to be a nuisance for players throughout the day as numerous players struggled to keep their footing and slipped or fell.

“You can obviously tell it’s a new field. The turf was kind of soft today so everyone was slipping,” Robey said.

In all, 12 draft-eligible former Trojans took part in the pro day. The NFL Draft begins on April 25.



Reach Staff Reporter Salomon Fuentes here; Follow him on Twitter here.



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