Ohio State is making a run for USC football’s record for the most all-time first round NFL Draft picks as the Trojans development stagnates.
USC football holds a number of NFL Draft records, but at least one of them is in danger of being overtaken in the 2019 NFL Draft.
The Trojans came into 2019 with the most ever first round draft picks. Last year, Sam Darnold was the 81st in USC history.
The trouble is, USC does not appear likely to add to that tally during the first round on Thursday night in Nashville. And Ohio State looks poised to take advantage of that.
The Buckeyes came out of the 2019 draft with 79 first rounders after cornerback Denzel Ward and center Billy Price were selected. With defensive end Nick Bosa and quarterback Dwayne Haskins projected as early Day 1 picks this year, it seems a certainty Ohio State will match USC’s mark of 81.
If wide receiver Parris Campbell sneaks into the first round, as number of mock drafts suggest, the Buckeyes will come away with the record.
In the grand scheme of things, losing the first round draft record is hardly the end of the world. But it is a sign of an arguably larger issue of USC not getting the most development out of its stellar recruiting habits.
The senior class of NFL prospects USC has on the board this year were part the nation’s No. 2 recruiting class in 2015. It included 13 Top 150 prospects. Short of a major surprise, Sam Darnold will be the only first rounder from that haul the Trojans have produced.
USC could certainly get back to developing first rounders going forward, but they’ll have to be quick about it, both to compete with Ohio State in the race to maintain the all-time record and to get back among the nation’s elite when it comes to performance at the college level.
Looking ahead to the 2020 NFL Draft, wide receiver Michael Pittman could be one to watch, while left tackle Austin Jackson and running back Stephen Carr have the talent to get there.
As for this year, it may be a small consolation to know USC is unlikely to give up the lead for the most ever NFL Draft picks. The Trojans finished last year with 505 all-time, ahead of Notre Dame’s 498. Though a handful of Fighting Irish are expected to be picked up this year, USC are likely to match them with possible selections for Chuma Edoga, Porter Gustin, Iman Marshall, Cameron Smith and Marvell Tell.