Column: Te’o, Smith, Barkley go pro a year late

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Barkley’s stock dropped so severely that, frankly, it would’ve been a surprise if he had been picked in the first round.

“I think Barkley’s going to be a starter in the league at some point,” Gruden said, not sounding nearly as upbeat as he did about the other two. “He’s going to be a guy that relies on his system, complete execution around him. I think his supporting cast is going to be important to him.”

Now, Barkley will tell you that he has no regrets about his decision to return to USC. He’ll tell you that getting the chance to be a leader during tough times will help him down the road.

Hogwash.

Barkley blew it.

So did Te’o and Smith.

All those juniors-to-be out there better not to make the same mistake.

___

Paul Newberry in a national writer for The Associated Press. Write to him at pnewberry(at)ap.org or www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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