(The Spread) – The shoulder injury that prevented USC quarterback Matt Barkley from finishing the 2012 college football season will also hold him out of this week’s NFL scouting combine.

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Barkley’s injury is being classified as a Grade 3 shoulder separation and despite not choosing to throw at this year’s combine, he expects to be fully recovered by his late-March Pro Day at USC. Once viewed as a top-5 selection, some pundits wonder if he’ll even be taken in the second round come April’s NFL draft.

West Virginia’s Geno Smith is widely considered the best quarterback in this year’s draft, although some observers think that no quarterback will be taken in the first round. Smith is a good athlete but he progressively got worse throughout the 2012 college season and some question whether or not he has the arm strength to make all of the throws at the next level.

Meanwhile, Barkley is in the same group as NC State’s Mike Glennon and Arkansas’ Tyler Wilson to be taken as the second quarterback off the board. Glennon has a strong arm but made a ton of mistakes in college, while Wilson didn’t produce his senior year. Ryan Nassib of Syracuse is viewed as a potential sleeper after his late heroics in multiple games this past year, while Tennessee’s Tyler Bray has prototypical size at 6’6” and 215 pounds. E.J. Manuel (Florida State), Landry Jones (Oklahoma) and Zac Dysert (Miami OH) are also considered mid-round sleepers.

In other draft news, NFL Network’s Mike Mayock said on Monday that South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore’s rehab is ahead of schedule. Lattimore tore his right ACL, PCL, and LCL in an October 27th game and won’t be able to participate in any pre-draft workouts. Slated for the fourth or fifth round, Lattimore could wind up being a steal if he has an Adrian Peterson-like comeback this offseason.

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