USC Football in NFL: Tracking Trojans on pro rosters for 2017

PASADENA, CA - NOVEMBER 19: Offensive tackle Zach Banner
PASADENA, CA - NOVEMBER 19: Offensive tackle Zach Banner /

If USC Football knows how to do one thing, it’s putting talent into the NFL. In 2017, the Trojans placed more than 40 players on pro rosters.

In addition to USC Football’s season opener against Western Michigan, this past weekend brought with it the deadline for NFL teams to trim their squads to a 53-man roster, sealing the fates of pro Trojans.

By Monday, 42 Projans were included on a roster, along with four first-year players making their way onto practice squads.

Who made the cut? Who found a new home? And who is still looking?

First, here’s a rundown of USC’s rookie class in the NFL:

OL Zach Banner

The fourth-round draft pick was surprisingly waived by the Indianapolis Colts on Monday, but it didn’t take long for the Cleveland Browns to swoop in and pick him up.

The Browns needed help at tackle after fifth-round pick Rod Johnson was injured last week, per the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

RB Justin Davis

Davis made the most of his offseason as an undrafted free agent signing for the Los Angeles Rams, impressing through preseason enough to earn a roster spot as the third option at running back.

LA sees him as a good change of base option behind Todd Gurley and Malcolm Brown.

“We’re excited about Justin,” head coach Sean McVay said during a recent press conference. “We know that as a rookie some of the things that we’re going to ask him to do, it’ll be something that we’ll just take little steps at a time. Justin definitely earned his spot on this roster and we’ve been pleased with what he’s done throughout the preseason.”

WR De’Quan Hampton

The receiver got a shot with the Saints this summer after initially signing with the Lions when he went undrafted. He was waived on Saturday.

DB Adoree’ Jackson

No surprise, the first round draft pick made the Titans roster. He is battling for a starting spot at cornerback, but may be primed for a role as Tennessee’s slot corner for the time being.

OL Damien Mama

The undrafted free agent guard didn’t make the Kansas City Chief’s 53-man roster but he was quickly signed to their practice squad

TE Taylor McNamara

The former Trojan tight end was one of the first casualties of the 53-man roster cuts for the Cleveland Browns.

DB Leon McQuay III

Another Trojan fighting for a roster spot with the Chiefs, the sixth-round draft pick was cut by Kansas City but found his way to the practice squad on Monday.

WR Darreus Rogers

An undrafted free agent in Seattle, Rogers didn’t do enough to make the Seahawks roster.

RELATED: USC’s Best NFL Draft Picks Ever

OL Jordan Simmons

The oft-injured Trojan guard was cut by the Raiders, but was brought back for a place on the 10-man practice squad in Oakland.

WR JuJu Smith-Schuster

As expected, the second-round draft pick made the Pittsburgh Steelers roster and will battle for playing time behind Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant.

DL Stevie Tu’ikolovatun

The seventh-round draft pick injured his knee earlier this summer and will start the 2017 season on injured reserve with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Unfortunately, it looks like he will stay there for the year.

For a player already older than most rookies, that’s a valuable year of playing time for Tu’ikolovatu lost.

OL Chad Wheeler

Though he had a shaky beginning to the preseason, the undrafted free agent tackle bounced back to impress the Giants as the season neared, earning first team reps at times.

Wheeler has now officially made the roster and should help provide critical depth for New York.

“I think his best days are ahead of him as a player. I think he has some versatility for us. It’s encouraging,” head coach Ben McAdoo said last week.

WR Isaac Whitney

Simmons isn’t the only undrafted free agent who will begin the season in uniform for the Raiders. Whitney also nabbed a spot on the practice squad in Oakland.

Here’s the full list of Trojans on NFL rosters to start the 2017 season:

  1. Nelson Agholor: WR, Philadelphia Eagles
  2. Javorius Allen: RB, Baltimore Ravens
  3. Zach Banner: OL, Cleveland Browns—Initially waived by Colts
  4. Jurrell CaseyDL, Tennessee Titans
  5. Matt Cassell: QB, Tennessee Titans
  6. Su’a Cravens: S, Washington Redskins—On exempt list, pondering retirement
  7. Brian Cushing: LB, Houston Texans
  8. Justin Davis: RB, Los Angeles Rams
  9. Rhett Ellison: TE, New York Giants—Left Vikings as free agent
  10. Everson Griffen: DL, Minnesota Vikings
  11. Xavier Grimble: TE, Pittsburgh Steelers
  12. Wes Horton: DL, Carolina Panthers
  13. Adoree’ Jackson: CB, Tennessee Titans
  14. Ryan Kalil: OL, Carolina Panthers
  15. Matt Kalil: OL, Carolina Panthers—Left Vikings as free agent
  16. Devon Kennard: LB, New York Giants
  17. Cody Kessler: QB, Cleveland Browns
  18. Marqise Lee: WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
  19. Tre Madden: FB, Seattle Seahawks
  20. Marcus Martin: OL, Cleveland Browns—Initially waived by 49ers in spring
  21. Clay Matthews: LB, Green Bay Packers
  22. Rey Maualuga: LB, Miami Dolphins—Initially released by Bengals in March
  23. T.J. McDonald:  S, Miami Dolphins—Serving eight-game suspension
  24. Carson Palmer: QB, Arizona Cardinals
  25. Claude Pelon: DL, New York Jets
  26. Nick Perry: LB, Green Bay Packers
  27. Hayes Pullard: LB, Los Angeles Chargers—Initially waived by the Jaguars
  28. Nickell Robey-Coleman: CB, Los Angeles Rams—Initially released by Bills in March
  29. Frostee Rucker: DL, Arizona Cardinals
  30. Mark Sanchez: QB, Chicago Bears—Left Cowboys as free agent
  31. Kevon Seymour: CB, Carolina Panthers—Traded from Bills
  32. Josh Shaw: CB, Cincinnati Bengals
  33. Tyron Smith: OL, Dallas Cowboys
  34. Malcolm Smith: LB, San Francisco 49ers—On IR with season-ending injury
  35. JuJu Smith-Schuster: WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
  36. Randall Telfer: TE, Cleveland Browns
  37. Stevie Tu’ikolovatu: DL, Tampa Bay Buccaneers—On IR with knee injury
  38. Max Tuerk: OL, Los Angeles Chargers—Serving four-game suspension
  39. Chad Wheeler: OL, New York Giants
  40. Leonard Williams: DL, New York Jets
  41. Robert Woods: WR, Los Angeles Rams—Left Bills as free agent
  42. Shareece Wright: CB, Buffalo Bills—Initially released by Ravens

Now here’s a look at former USC players on practice squads:

  • Damien Mama: OL, Kansas City Chiefs
  • Leon McQuay III: S, Kansas City Chiefs
  • Jordan Simmons: OL, Oakland Raiders
  • Isaac Whitney: WR, Oakland Raiders

And here are the Trojans who are still looking for a home:

  • Matt Barkley: Cut by San Francisco
  • George Farmer: Cut by Seattle in May
  • De’Quan Hampton: Cut by New Orleans
  • Taylor McNamara: Cut by Cleveland
  • Michael Morgan: Cut by Seattle
  • Antwaun Woods: Cut by Tennessee, but likely to be signed to practice squad after a strong preseason, unless someone else picks him up first.