Six soon-to-be former USC football players await their new NFL homes


With the NFL Draft starting Thursday, six Trojans wait for their name to be called in Dallas.

Emily Smith | Daily Trojan

This year, as is the case in most years, USC will have an incredibly strong presence at the NFL Draft. In Dallas, six Trojan stars will wait to hear their names called on stage and find out what franchise they will soon call home.

Quarterback Sam Darnold, running back Ronald Jones II, wideouts Steven Mitchell and Deontay Burnett and pass rushers Rasheem Green and Uchenna Nwosu all participated in the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis and are expected to be among the 256 players selected in the draft.

Where and when these athletes are selected, however, is certainly up for debate.

Sam Darnold is, by a large margin, the most talked about of the bunch. A strong candidate for the first overall pick in the draft, Darnold is all but assured to go within the first few picks.

With a number of teams — including the Cleveland Browns and New York Giants — interested in picking a quarterback lined up within the top five, most analysts feel it is incredibly unlikely that Darnold will wait long before hearing his name called. According to the latest mock draft released by Bleacher Report, Darnold is projected to come off the board third overall to the New York Jets.

Unfortunately for the other five former USC stars, Darnold is the only Trojan named in this first round mock draft. According to ESPN’s Mel Kiper, the Indianapolis Colts will take Jones within the first few picks of the second round. Fellow Trojans Green and Nwosu are also expected to be taken later in the round within just four picks of each other, according to Kiper’s prognostications.

For the receivers, analysts’ expectations are significantly lower than Jones, Darnold, Green and Nwosu. In the CBS Prevent seven-round mock draft, Burnett doesn’t get picked until the sixth round while Mitchell goes the full weekend without hearing his name called. On the bright side for Mitchell, it is notoriously difficult to project picks in the later rounds and his experience as a key contributor to the USC offense over the past four seasons give him a great chance of being drafted.

While many things in the draft are difficult to guarantee beforehand, it is incredibly unlikely that the Trojans’ top prospects, Darnold, Green, Jones and Nwosu, will continue to play in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum next season. With the Los Angeles Rams having to wait until the third round to make a pick, it is likely that the balance of USC prospects will not be available. With that being said, it wouldn’t be too shocking to see at least one of the USC prospects head to play for the Chargers. With one pick in each round and needs on both sides of the ball, it is highly possible that at least one of these talented former Trojans wind up playing professionally in Los Angeles.

Only time will tell what will happen to these six remarkable athletes, but what is certain is that USC and the Trojan fanbase is immensely excited to see what the future holds in store.