USC Football: Sam Darnold leads Mayock NFL Draft position rankings

Harry How/Getty Images
Harry How/Getty Images /

USC quarterback Sam Darnold ranks as the top quarterback in Mike Mayock’s NFL Draft position rankings, with a couple other Trojans featuring.

Every year, Mike Mayock of releases his NFL Draft position rankings, offering a fairly reliable perspective on the top prospects on the board.

This year, Mayock’s Top 5 rankings for each position include Sam Darnold as the No. 1 quarterback available.

That’s a big deal because it’s widely expected that one of the top three quarterbacks—Darnold, No. Josh Allen and No. 3 Josh Rosen—will be the No. 1 overall pick in the draft.

Darnold isn’t the only Trojan who got some recognition from Mayock either.

Running back Ronald Jones II ranks third behind Saquon Barkley and Derrius Guice in Mayock’s estimation. It’s tough to tell if that could put him in line for a first round pick, given the recent reluctance for teams to take running backs in the first round. With Barkley largely expected to go early on Day 1, however, Jones II could certainly work his way in with an impressive NFL Combine performance.

Over at linebacker, Uchenna Nwosu just made the cut at No. 5 for his position, trailing Virginia Tech’s Tremaine Edmunds, Georgia’s Roquan Smith, Boise State’s Leighton Vander Esch and Alabama’s Rashaan Evans.

Nwosu may have raised his draft stock more than anyone during the 2017 season. Though he had a solid junior season and his 2017 spring camp performance had people close to USC buzzing, few would have projected him among the five best linebackers in the draft before his All-American campaign.

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Chad Reuter of listed Nwosu as an early second round pick in his three-round mock draft so he could also make a push for a first round selection before all is said and done.

Though three Trojans made Mayock’s position rankings, several more missed out on that status.

The most aggrieved of them may be defensive lineman Rasheem Green.

Deontay Burnett may have had more receiving yards than five of the seven receivers Mayock ranked in his Top 5, but the Trojan receiver didn’t rate either.

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Nor did Steven Mitchell, who will also join his teammates at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis at the end of February.