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NFL Draft 2013: Matt Barkley 'highly likely' a first round pick, per ESPN

Matt Barkey's draft stock likely took a hit after a disappointing 2012 season, but a report from ESPN suggests he might not have fallen too far.

Stephen Dunn

Matt Barkley has almost certainly not had the type of season he imagined having when he decided to return to the USC Trojans for his senior year, and with the college football season approaching its end attention to turns to where Barkley may fall in the 2013 NFL Draft.

Barkley was routinely spoken of as a top-10 pick prior to his decision to return to USC, but how his senior season has impacted his draft stock is a big question. In a discussion of the 2013 class at ESPN.com, Todd McShay says it is "highly likely" Barkley is still a first-round draft pick. Additionally, Mel Kiper names Barkley as one of the few quarterbacks who might start as rookies. "Unless there's a very good starter in place," Kiper says, "I think you can assume [Barkley] can come in and compete for the starting job."

It's still incredibly early in the process, with the Combine and Pro Days still to come. Barkley is obviously a player with considerable talent, and there's no doubt that there's a team with a significant interest in the young man.