USC Football: Two Trojans selected in PFF Foundation Draft

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images /

USC quarterback Sam Darnold and offensive tackle Tyron Smith were selected in the first round of Pro Football Focus’ hypothetical “Foundation Draft.”

If you were building an NFL franchise from the ground up, who would you select as your foundation? That’s the question Pro Football Focus asked this week, imagining a draft comprised of every football player alive.

As it turns out, two PFF writers would pin their franchise hopes on a Trojan.

Zac Robinson used his No. 15 pick overall to select USC quarterback Sam Darnold, while Eliot Crist turned to former Trojan tackle Tyron Smith with the No. 32 pick overall.

Darnold was actually the 15th quarterback taken, with a run on QBs taking up the whole first half of the draft, but he stands as the first current college player off the board.

"Although he’s only going in to his redshirt sophomore season, Darnold has all the tools and intangibles to be a true franchise QB when his time for the NFL comes. – Zac Robinson, @Zac_Robinson5"

Considering all the talk of Darnold being next year’s No. 1 overall pick, and the “Suck for Sam” campaigns which may ramp up this fall, it’s no surprise to see him appear.

Having said that, at just 20 years old, this hypothetical draft just goes to show how much pressure is looming over Darnold’s future success after one great season at the college level.

SEE ALSO: Why Sam Darnold Will Live Up to the Hype in 2017

Should Darnold opt to leave after the 2017 season, teams will have a much bigger sample size to judge whether or not he’s worthy of being the top selection. For now, the perception of Darnold is one worthy of being a franchise foundation player.

Smith stands as much less of a risk, and could be argued as a value pick late in the first round.

Here’s how Crist justified the pick:

"Smith is a 26-year-old left tackle coming a year removed from being PFF’s top-graded offensive tackle. He had four straight seasons grading 85.9 or higher and has finished top-10 in pass-blocking efficiency in every single year of his career. – Eliot Crist, @EliotCrist"

Considering Smith’s proven capabilities as an offensive lineman, and his age, he seems worthy of being the first and only offensive lineman taken in the first round.

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A team could do worse than shoring up the tackle position for years to come, especially with a tackle capable of protecting the quarterback’s blindside or carving a path for the running back.

Having two players appear in the first round of PFF’s foundation draft may be ultimately meaningless, but it goes to show the brightness of USC’s past present and future.

CHECK OUT: USC’s All-Sanctions Era Team

Smith represents the Trojans chops as a pro football factory. Darnold represents the present for USC in the college game and the future prospects for more Trojan success in the NFL.