Thursday could mark the start of the realization of dream for USC draft picks selected in the 2016 NFL Draft in Chicago. Reign of Troy covers the event by tracking the draft selections and previewing where the Trojans could be headed.
There isn’t a Leonard Williams among the Trojans hopeful of being selected, and quarterback Cody Kessler isn’t going to be selected in the first round.
But with the likes of Su’a Cravens, Max Tuerk and Kevon Seymour all on the board, USC’s 2016 NFL Draft class will be an intriguing one to see come together.
What it comes down to is the vast number of questions that have yet to be answered.
Will Tre Madden’s knee be healthy enough for a team to believe in him? Can Antwaun Woods’s pectoral issues be set aside by an NFL franchise looking for depth on the defensive line? What position will Cravens play?
Answers will start to come through in Chicago, with the draft kicking off in the Windy City for the second-straight year.
Get caught up with Reign of Troy’s draft pick tracker and preview.
USC Draft Prospect Tracker:
- LB/S Su’a Cravens: Drafted by Redskins in 2nd Round (53rd Pick) | Reaction
- OL Max Tuerk: Drafted by Chargers in 2nd Round (66th Pick) | Reaction
- QB Cody Kessler: Drafted by Browns in 3rd Round (93rd Pick) | Reaction
- CB Kevon Seymour: Drafted by Bills in 6th Round (218th Pick)
- RB Tre Madden: Signed as UFA with Seahawks
- FB Soma Vainuku: Signed as UFA with Texans
- DT Antwaun Woods: Signed as UFA with Titans
- DT Delvon Simmons: Signed as UFA with Colts
- DT Claude Pelon: Signed as UFA with Jets
- DE Greg Townsend: Signed as UFA with Raiders
- LB Lamar Dawson: Undrafted and unsigned
- LB Anthony Sarao: Signed as UFA with Colts
- FB Jahleel Pinner: Undrafted and unsigned
Reaction to Day 2 of the NFL Draft:
2016 NFL Draft Live Stream:
The 2016 NFL Draft kicks off at 5 p.m. Pacific on ESPN and NFL Network. It can be live streamed on the web from WatchESPN by clicking here.
Biggest Storyline: Where will Su’a Cravens go?
Unlike last year’s draft in which USC had players trending up going into draft day, plus the outside shot that Leonard Williams could get selected as high as No. 2, this year’s draft buzz revolves around Su’a Cravens.
READ MORE: Why Su’a Cravens is the future of the NFL
With projections that vary from late first round to as far as the third round, it’s anyone’s guess for a player that scouts can’t decide on a specific position for.
Is he a linebacker? Is he safety? Will he start at safety and then transition to inside linebacker? It’s all an unknown, and until his name is called, Cravens will be USC’s most talked about prospect.
NFL Draft Preview Podcast:Having trouble? Listen on Soundcloud, iTunes or Stitcher.
Trojan Sleeper Pick: Max Tuerk
A year ago, Max Tuerk was pegged to be a first round draft in the 2016 Draft. Fast forward to now, and that’s probably not happening. He missed the bulk of his senior season due to a torn ACL, and centers rarely go that high, especially coming off of an injury.
But the draft talk surrounding Tuerk is still overwhelmingly positive. It could make him one of the biggest sleepers in the entire draft, should his knee fully recover as planned.
READ MORE: How Max Tuerk Can Improve as a Prospect
Steve Palazzolo off Pro Football Focus said he could be the best center in the draft in the right system.
Then there’s Jon Ledyard of USA Today, who says, “I’m not sure I’ve seen a lineman move with the explosiveness and fluidity that Tuerk does in space, yet maintain such a controlled style of play.”
Put it all together and it’ll be intriguing to see what becomes of Tuerk’s draft selection.
He was criticized at USC for struggles with high snaps and a thought that he could be best suited at guard. But if the scouts are right, a bright future as a center could be in the cards.
Trojans picked by LA
This year marks the first time the NFL will return to the LA Coliseum since 1994, as the Rams have returned to the city as they await the opening of their Inglewood stadium.
From 1946 through 1994, the three professional franchises to reside in Los Angeles drafted 37 local players out of USC.
The list includes 33 selections made by the Rams, highlighted by Jon Arnett in 1957, Marlin McKeever in 1961 and Pat Haden in 1975. Heisman Trophy winner Mike Garrett was selected by the Rams in the 1966 NFL Draft, but ultimately decided to play for the AFL’s Kansas City Chiefs.
Currently, USC has one player who was drafted by the Rams, albeit while in St. Louis. That’s former All-American safety T.J. McDonald.
READ MORE: Rams’ 2016 Schedule has USC in Mind
As for the LA Raiders? They selected just four Trojans, including their first round picks in both of their first seasons in LA: Marcus Allen in 1982 and Dan Mosebar in 1983.
Both turned out to be stars for the Silver and Black, unlike 1991 first round selection Todd Marinovich. The ex-Trojan quarterback is widely considered one of the biggest draft busts in league history.
In 1986, the Raiders took USC defensive back Zeph Lee. He played 23 games in Los Angeles.
Who will be the next Trojan picked to play close to home? We’ll have to wait and see.