USC Trojans Once Again Loaded with NFL Draft Prospects

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The USC Trojans have a long and illustrious history with the NFL Draft.  A cursory Google search reveals USC at the top or near the top on every list of Most NFL First Round Draft Picks by School.  They battle it out for that #1 position with a cast of usual suspect that includes Ohio State, Texas, Notre Dame, and Miami (FL).  Trojans are anxiously awaiting this week’s NFL draft to see where the players we’ve thrown our Trojan Spirit behind will end up.

By Amy Lamare of Gridiron Goddess.net, the award-winning USC and college football blog

It will be an interesting year for the draft and in many ways, I expect it to be better for the USC players than in years when we were flying high and ending up in the top 4 at season’s end.  These players have been through the fire, have stuck it out with SC during the first year of sanctions and I feel that speaks to a strength of character and perseverance that players like, say, Ryan Mallet, don’t seem to have.

OT Tyron Smith
Smith is ranked #1 for his position heading into this week’s draft.  He’s incredibly athletic, fast, accurate and has the look of  a seasoned NFL veteran in his style of play. Expect Smith to have a long and successful career. Possible criticisms could arise as he only played right tackle for the Trojans, but his high level of athleticism will prove he can make the switch easily.

FB Stanley Havili
Havili was a monster at USC and is ranked #3 for his position in the 2011 draft.  His NFL prospects, however, I believe depend on who drafts him and the system they run. Havili has amazing hands and he’s made some truly breathtaking catches over his years at USC.  He’s also a good runner and the best athlete of all the fullbacks in this draft.  He’s going to need to hit the weight room to get bigger and again, the right system will be crucial to his success. Somewhere that makes good use of the fullback is necessary.

TE Jordan Cameron
Cameron is ranked 9th and rising for his position heading into the draft. He’s athletic and he had a great showing at the combine.  (More on that in a second) The thing about Cameron, well he was a basketball player and he’s had limited playing time for the gridiron Trojans. 16 career catches and a single start do not make a broad base from which to evaluate him.  Cameron is an athlete, but he’s barely a football player when compared to other Trojans in the draft. He’s got a lot to learn. That said, let’s talk about his combine showing. He finished second in the 40-yard dash at the tight end position.

At 6-5 and 254lbs, he ran a 4.59 in the 40 compared to the 1st place finisher’s 4.55.  His vertical leap was 37.5. This combination is interesting as, despite Cameron’s overall lack of time on the football field for Troy, his #s display an ability to speed the hell down field like a bat out of hell and to get air- an especially useful skill when you’re in the red zone.  This is exactly what teams need out of their tight ends.  Cameron switched from wide receiver before the 2010 season. His sheer athleticism bodes well and frankly the type of conditioning and NFL style offense USC runs is beneficial in his evaluation. Lack of playing time or not, he has the raw skills and with the right development could make a massive impact on an NFL team.

WR Ronald Johnson
Here’s the thing, RoJo was good at USC, but there’s a lingering feeling amongst the Trojan faithful that he just never really lived up to his own hype. Are we spoiled? Hell yes.  But there was no great leaping one handed catch highlight re: Mike Williams to set him apart from the pack. He’s ranked 23rd at the Wide Reciever position, which honestly, seems about right. He will be a proficient but middle of the pack player, he is not a superstar.

C Kristofer O’Dowd
O’Dowd is a beast and the only thing that kept him from having a legendary college career was the amount of time he spent injured. Which, trust me, was OFTEN. Shockingly often.  When he was healthy he was literally the perfect athletic specimen for the Center position. He can handle all the line calls, catch all the blitzes ahead of time and he is truly a great leader. At all times he was one of the emotional centers of the USC team. If he can stay healthy he can have a long and fruitful career. He is ranked 3rd overall for his position.

Other USC offensive players in the draft:

QB Mitch Mustain

WR David Ausberry
RB CJ Gable
RB Allen Bradford
OG Wendell Lewis
OLB Michael Morgan
OLB Malcolm Smith
CB Shareece Wright
Alright football fanatics, that’s it for now. I will try to cover the rest of the offensive draftees from USC and the defense at some point tomorrow.
Fight On!
Your Gridiron Goddess
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