USC to NFL: Seven Trojans Invited to 2016 NFL Combine


Su’a Cravens and Cody Kessler headline the seven USC players invited to the 2016 NFL Combine as they look to make their way to the NFL Draft in April.

The 2016 NFL Combine will feature seven Trojans, including Su’a Cravens, Cody Kessler, Tre Madden, Kevon Seymour, Max Tuerk, Soma Vainuku and Antwaun Woods.

The Combine will take place in Indianapolis beginning on February 23rd through February 29. UCLA leads the Pac-12 with nine players set to attend, ahead of USC’s seven invitees.

The Trojans will be disappointed by snubs for defensive linemen Delvon Simmons, Claude Pelon and Greg Townsend Jr. Linebackers Lamar Dawson and Anthony Sarao also failed to make the cut for Combine participation.

Cravens is by far USC’s best NFL draft prospect but even he has plenty to prove at the Combine. Before he decided to leave early for the draft, Cravens indicated that he had always dreamed of being a first round draft pick. In order to achieve that goal he’ll need to put in a top performance to wow scouts. Though his talent is undeniable his hybrid skill set has many draft projections predicting him to be a second round pick.

Tuerk is recovering from a torn ACL he suffered during the Trojans 2015 season, so his ability to perform at the Combine could be limited. He is currently projected as a middle round pick.

Woods, who dealt with a chest injury for much of his senior season, impressed at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl en route to a Combine invite. He’ll be hoping to earn a place in the draft in the late rounds.

Seymour finished out his USC career while dealing with a knee injury of his own. As a seventh round projection he has work to do to convince scouts that he is worth of a selection.

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Kessler may be the highest profile of the Trojan participants aside from Cravens. However a disappointing final season has his draft stock much lower than expected. A strong outing in Indianapolis could move him from potential seventh-rounder or free agent into the middle rounds.

Madden’s promising college career was derailed by a series of injuries which continued to plague him in 2015. The Combine invite is a reflection of the promising talent he holds, though he’ll need to prove that his body can hold up to convince a team to take him in the draft.

Vainuku participated in the Senior Bowl alongside Kessler and has earned praise for his ability as a special teams player. The question is whether or not that will be enough for the fullback to earn an NFL roster spot.