- Rich Cimini, ESPN Staff Writer
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Each team is allowed to conduct up to 60 formal player interviews at the combine (15 minutes apiece), and the Jets used one of theirs on USC Matt Barkley, certainly one of the most interesting players in the draft.
The Jets were among nine teams to interview Barkley, according to SI.com.
Barkley is projected as a possible first-round pick, but his stock could fluctuate in the coming weeks, depending on how he performs at his pro day. He didn't throw at the combine because he's still rehabbing a shoulder injury.
He was a four-year starter at USC, succeeding Mark Sanchez in 2009, but his performance slipped as a senior. He's trying to rehabilitate his pro stock, trying to convince everyone he's a serious football junkie, not just some dude from SoCal. He's also fighting the stigma that former USC quarterbacks struggle in the NFL. Matt Leinart was a bust and Sanchez, after two promising years, has slipped.
"There have been great USC quarterbacks (who have done) some things in the NFL," Barkley told reporters last week. "I know my case, my situation and my story is different than all those other guys. I don't think you can put everyone in the same mold. I know what I'm capable of, and I wouldn't be so quick to put a mold around me."
Barkley would be a nice fit in the Jets' new West Coast offense, but he has suspect arm strength, according to scouts. They wouldn't take him with the No. 9 pick, but it could get interesting if he's still around at No. 39.