UCLA's Jones, USC's Barkley highlight local draft picks
APR 29, 2013 5:59p ET
With that in mind, some sunshine could be on the horizon in the form of two of the top picks headed to those respective cities, hailing from sunny Southern California.
UCLA defensive lineman Datone Jones, a Compton High School grad, was taken with the No. 26 pick in the first round of the NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers last Thursday.
On Friday, the Buffalo Bills decided to take USC’s all-time leading receiver, Robert Woods – a Serra High School grad — with the first of their two second round picks, highlighting the draft for local Pac-12 schools.
The high selections of those two, however, couldn’t outweigh the spectacle that was Matt Barkley during NFL Draft weekend.
The only three-time captain at USC saw his national perception and the fanfare surrounding him take a dive during the 2012 season. That dive turned into a freefall during the NFL Draft.
Barkley's draft stock continued to slide downhill. He slid all the way to the fourth round, meaning he didn’t hear his name called to be selected on Thursday or Friday.
"I'll definitely remember this weekend for the rest of my career," Barkley said in an interview with the NFL Network.
For the quarterback who’s dedicated a huge portion of his life to being a pro-style quarterback he’ll finally get his shot in the pros but will do so in a spread offense.
Former Pac-12 rival and first-year head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, Chip Kelly decided Barkley had too much value to pass on and took him in the fourth round, 98th overall. He traded up from the 101st spot to do so.
There were issues about Barkley’s shoulder, thoughts that he digressed in 2012, and his arm strength but having competed against him for four years, Kelly had no concern about any of that, especially his arm strength which he said was “overrated.”
“We’re not trying to knock over milk cartons at a county fair,” Kelly told the Associated Press. “He’s not a one-year wonder. He’s done it for four straight years. The accuracy part is more important than arm strength part.”
Barkley’s former teammate at USC and Mater Dei High School, center Khaled Holmes was also taking in the fourth round by the Indianapolis Colts.
USC safety T.J. McDonald was considered to be a “lightning rod” by NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock, who said some teams really loved McDonald and others didn’t. A huge knock on him was his shortcomings in pass coverage.
McDonald was selected in the third round by the Rams, rounding out USC’s 2013 Draft.
Surprisingly cornerback Nickell Robey, an early entry, was not selected. He’ll join Woods in Buffalo as an undrafted free agent.
As for UCLA, they’re draft was owned and operated by the NFC North.
Joining Jones in Green Bay is the school’s all-time leading rusher, Johnathan Franklin, a Dorsey High School grad. Franklin was a fourth round selection.
Punter Jeff Locke and all-purpose offensive lineman Jeff Baca were taking by the Minnesota Vikings in the fifth and sixth rounds, respectively.