NFL Draft Picks: 50 Best in USC History

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When Rodney Peete finished his USC career in 1988, he was easily the most dynamic quarterback in school history as partly evidenced by finishing second in the Heisman Trophy balloting behind Barry Sanders.

Yet despite earning All-American honors and winning the Unitas Award in college, his outlook as a professional wasn’t overly bright.

He didn’t fit the NFL’s archaic mold of a quarterback. He wasn’t strictly a pro-style quarterback and instead thrived outside of the pocket.

Because of that, it wasn’t until the sixth round of the 1989 NFL Draft that Peete was picked by the Lions.

He started 47 games in Detroit over a five-year period with the aforementioned Sanders in his backfield, but struggled to stay healthy.

In 1991, Peete and the Lions were 5-2 before an Achilles tear cost him what could’ve been his brightest season, simply due to the team around him. Detroit finished the year just one win shy of the Super Bowl.

After leaving Detroit, Peete was mostly a backup quarterback, though started games with the Eagles, Panthers and Cowboys.

Peete didn’t have the most heralded career and didn’t earn the label of winner. But 87 career starts and a winning record as a starter in a 16-year career is pretty darn solid for a sixth rounder that wasn’t on too many good teams and never had high NFL expectations.

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