USC’s Cameron Smith selected in fifth round of 2019 NFL Draft by Minnesota Vikings

Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy
Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy /

USC football linebacker Cameron Smith landed with Minnesota Vikings in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL Draft on Saturday.

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Cameron Smith is now a member of the Minnesota Vikings, who drafted him with the 162nd pick in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL Draft.

Joining Chuma Edoga, Iman Marshall and Marvell Tell as 2019 draftees, Smith is the 509th draft pick in USC history.

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In Minnesota he will join fellow former Trojan and defensive end Everson Griffin.

Smith certainly wasn’t a “wow” prospect in this year’s draft, but his track record as a USC starter makes him one of the safer selections at linebacker. Any worries about his somewhat limited athleticism and measurables are balanced out by his smart, instinctual play. He was a four-year starter at USC for a reason.

With strong work ethic and a keen mind, Smith could work his way into a starting role in the NFL. At worst, he should make a roster and contribute in whatever way he can.

Smith was part of USC’s vaunted 2015 recruiting class, but as a four-star linebacker ranked 183rd nationally, he was the lowest-ranking of the Trojans’ stellar linebacker haul.

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Even so, he was the first to truly make an impact in cardinal and gold. Having enrolled in the spring of 2015, he impressed coaches ahead of his freshman season, earning a starting job to start the season. He rewarded USC for the great show of trust by starting 10 games and leading the team with 78 tackles before missing the rest of the year with a knee injury. He was a Freshman All-American first team selection and Pac-12 Defensive Freshman of the Year.

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He returned from that injury to reclaim his starting place in 2016. Officially topping the team with 83 tackles, he pitched in seven tackles for loss and four deflections en route to an All-Pac-12 second team selection.

Back to full form in 2017, Smith put in an exceptional performance, picking up midseason All-American first team honors from CBSSports, a third team All-American selection from Phil Steele and an All-Pac-12 first team selection. The team captain led USCc with 112 tackles, adding 11 tackles for loss an interception and three deflections.

The goal in returning for his senior season was to achieve a place on USC’s All-American Walk. Unfortunately, that was not to be. Though Smith remained an effective starter, leading the Trojans in tackles for the third-straight year, he was limited by a lingering hamstring injury and the team struggled in general. He was still a quarterfinalist for the Lott IMPACT Trophy, USC’s team MVP and an All-Pac-12 second teamer.