Ranking USC Football’s early NFL draftees’ hypothetical senior seasons

Sep 26, 2015; Tempe, AZ, USA; Southern California Trojans linebacker Su'a Cravens (21) against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Sun Devil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 26, 2015; Tempe, AZ, USA; Southern California Trojans linebacker Su'a Cravens (21) against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Sun Devil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /
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Oct 9, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Buffalo Bills defensive back Nickell Robey (21) celebrates the Bills 30-19 win over the Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 9, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Buffalo Bills defensive back Nickell Robey (21) celebrates the Bills 30-19 win over the Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports /

No. 9 Nickell Robey | 2013

As one of the few bright spots of the 2012 season, it was disappointing to see cornerback Nickell Robey declare for the draft knowing that his size would always be a barrier to a high selection.

In fact, at 5-foot-8 the second team All-Pac-12 defender went completed undrafted and signed with the Buffalo Bills. Things worked out in the end for Robey, who not only earned a roster spot but carved out a role for himself on the Bills defense as a regular contributor.

Now newly-signed with the Los Angeles Rams, it’s clear that Robey would have given the 2013 Trojan defense quite the boost — particularly on a September night in Tempe against Arizona State.

That’s not to say that Robey could have saved Lane Kiffin’s job, that severing of ties feels inevitable now, but looking at USC’s cornerback unit in 2013, the Trojans could have used the help.

Defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast used a combination of Josh Shaw; who started 10 games at cornerback and the remaining three at safety; Kevon Seymour; who started 11 games; Torin Harris, who started four games; Anthony Brown, who started twice; and true freshman Chris Hawkins as a regular member of the rotation.

Considering how ASU ripped the Trojans for 351 yards in the air, including eight completions of longer than 20 yards, Robey would have upgraded that unit immensely.

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