USC Trojans All-Time Lists

USC Football’s All-NFL Team: Picking the Trojan defense

Apr 18, 2020, 11:00 PM PDT
Jurrell Casey is arguably USC's greatest NFL defensive lineman. (Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
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Jurrell Casey is arguably USC’s greatest NFL defensive lineman. (Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

USC football’s All-NFL team includes some of football’s greatest defenders.

When you’re tied for the most NFL Hall of Famers ever, like USC football is, selecting an All-NFL defense is like choosing a car from a lot full of the Ferraris, Bugattis and Lamborghinis.

Throw in a Rolls-Royce or two and you get close to the caliber of football player, particularly defensive backs, produced by the Trojans over the last century.

So who belongs in USC’s All-NFL first team?

Here’s a look at the best of the best pro Trojans:

DE: Jurrell Casey

After starring as an All-Pac-10 defensive lineman at USC, Jurrell Casey was drafted in 2011 by the Tennessee Titans. A third-round selection, he seemed like a nice player in his first couple of years as a pro. He was a regular starter, but nothing particularly special.

The 2013 season was a different kettle of fish. Casey exploded with 10.5 sacks, tying for second in that measure among NFL defensive tackles. Since then, he has enjoyed a steady rise towards status as one of the top interior defensive linemen in the game.

He was selected as a Pro Bowl alternate in 2013 and 2014, but didn’t make his breakthrough to official Pro Bowl status until 2015. Since then he has made a Pro Bowl appearance in five consecutive years.

Pro Football Focus has ranked Casey in their Top 101 players in the NFL seven times. That’s not just because the lineman has managed five or more sacks in each of the last seven seasons. He has proven himself as a top-tier run stopper.

Casey is a no-brainer pick to anchor the defensive line for USC’s All-NFL team. His career weighted average from Pro Football Reference is higher than any other Trojan in history. And at 30, he still has some years in the tank.