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May 8, 2014; New York, NY, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell begins the draft and puts the Houston Texans on the clock at the start of the 2014 NFL draft at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

USC Morning Briefing: NFL Draft Takeaways and Other Bullets

Three & Out:

  1. Leaving Early: One of the biggest takeaways of the 2014 NFL draft from a USC perspective was the indictment of Trojan underclassmen and their decision to leave school early. While Marqise Lee and Marcus Martin might have hoped to hear their names called earlier, at least they eventually heard them called. Dion Bailey, George Uko and Xavier Grimble were not so lucky. Even though all three were projected to be drafted, there were questions about the wisdom of jumping to the NFL as soon as they all announced.
    With regards to Bailey, at least, the decision seemed inevitable and his whiffing on being drafted was a definite surprise. He had shown plenty of versatility and skill in three years as a starter. On top of that, an extra year in school was never going to result in a growth spurt which might have put him on more NFL radars. In the end, he may have done himself a favor being able to choose to sign with Pete Carroll’s Seattle Seahawks.
    In the case of Uko and Grimble, there’s no getting around it — they made a mistake. Both needed more time in college to prove themselves to the pros beyond pointing to untapped potential.
  2. Leaving Early 2.0: Unfortunately, the mistake made by Uko, Grimble and (to a lesser extent) Bailey leaving early could also have big ramifications for the Trojans in 2014. Grimble especially might have had a break out season with Sarkisian’s penchant for getting the most out of his tight ends. Uko’s absence increases the pressure of replacing both Morgan Breslin and Devon Kennard in the pass rush. Finally Bailey would have been a valuable veteran to return on a defense once again in transition.
  3. Jaguars Got a Steal: Lee might be getting a nice payout from his insurance policy on account of his slip into the second round, but it’s the Jacksonville Jaguars who hit pay dirt. Lee proved he has the talent of a top ten pick through his freshman and sophomore seasons. Injury trouble as a junior doesn’t erase that level of production. The Jaguars got the quarterback they wanted with the third pick in Blake Bortles and they got a severely undervalued wide out for him to sling the ball to immediately.

They said it:

“We’re excited. Obviously we had him highly rated. I think the whole country did. But for whatever reason this is a deep draft and sometimes players fall. This is a good draft with good players. Somebody’s got to fall, right? And it just so happened that it (wide receiver) was a need for us.”

– Jacksonville Jaguars general manager David Caldwell (via ESPN)

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