Dec 31, 2012; El Paso, TX, USA; Southern California Trojans quarterback Matt Barkley (middle) speaks to head coach Lane Kiffin before the Sun Bowl against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Sun Bowl stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ivan Pierre Aguirre-USA TODAY Sports

USC QB Matt Barkley, Alabama RB Eddie Lacy to Miss NFL Combine with Injuries

Two top talents coming into the 2013 NFL Combine won’t be showing teams what they need to do because of injuries.

University of Alabama running back Eddie Lacy will miss the combine because of a minor tear in tissue around his hamstring, forcing him to put all his chips on the table at the team’s pro day on March 13th. It’s unclear exactly how he sustained the injury and nobody appears to be too worried about it, but tissue tears can linger due to the nature of the injury.

USC’s quarterback Matt Barkley will attend the combine, but won’t be doing any throwing drills. He is still recovering from an shoulder sprain and wasn’t even cleared by his doctors to start throwing until last week. He has some work to do so that he can get it back up to full strength again and says he will be ready for USC’s pro day on March 17th.

Barkley had gotten injured in November and barely avoided surgery. Lacy has a history of lingering injuries in his career at Alabama so this most recent “minor” setback can’t help things there.

I’ll keep my ear to the railroad with their conditions, monitor the pro days as they occur, and relay the relevant information right here on That way, my readers won’t have to sort through the clutter at the gazillions of sites that report on everything from the NBA down to women’s rowing.

No offense to the women’s rowers, but Panthers’ fans may be more interested in a defensive tackle or wide receiver that might make a splash somewhere with their 40-time or bench reps. Some are just more interested in the draft process these days and want to hear about that. I’m one of those guys.

Will missing the NFL combine hurt either player? Yes, in a way. It puts that much more pressure on them at their respective pro days to perform. A number of times in the past, a player has had a little slower 40-time in particular and improved that time at their pro day.

Cam Newton threw just horribly at the combine but threw well at his pro day at Auburn and the rest is history. What if Eddie Lacy’s “minor tear” lingers just long enough to make him run a slower 40 than a healthy Montee Ball? It could kick him out of the first round quite possibly.

Guys like Montee that have the combine can go through that combine and “stand on their times” as it’s put, foregoing doing any running at their pro days. Sometimes a player doesn’t run so well at the combine but improves upon it with a good showing at his pro day.

Same thing with the passing drills with a particularly good combine performance. However, sometimes a QB will do drills at both even with a good combine if they want to show off a particular skill they have. The QB and his coaches have a lot more control on a team’s pro day since the school is running the show and not the NFL.

A good collegiate coaching staff (oh, like say, Nick Saban and his crew) knows all about it and does all it can to help their exiting players shine, but only as far as the participant is as healthy as possible.

Participating in the combine gives them options.

Ultimately, both Matt Barkley and Eddie Lacy have a lot of history and game tape on them – not to mention Montee Ball with all of his carries up in Wisconsin, for example – so that missing the combine shouldn’t really hurt their stock in the upcoming NFL draft if they come back with a decent pro day.

Miss the combine and have a poor pro day and THEN we’ll have us a big story, folks. It could wind up that Lacy falls out of the first round and Barkley vaults into it, probably due to the effect of positional value at this point than anything, but Lacy’s the more vulnerable of the two.

Stay tuned.

Follow me on Twitter @Ken_Dye

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Tags: 2013 NFL Combine Eddie Lacy Matt Barkley NFL Combine

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