The 2020 NFL Draft weekend arrives with USC football likely to see just two players selected.
What should USC football fans expect from this year’s NFL Draft? It won’t be as active as year’s past, which could mean trouble for the Trojans all-time draft records.
USC has five draft hopefuls including Austin Jackson, Michael Pittman, Drew Richmond, Christian Rector, and John Houston.
Unfortunately, at best the Trojans might see two first-rounders among those (likely just one). That means Ohio State is on the verge of taking the lead for the most first-round picks in history.
The Trojans and Buckeyes ended the 2019 NFL Draft tied at 81 after Ohio State had Nick Bosa and Dwayne Haskins were selected. USC had no one picked on Day 1.
This year, the Buckeyes once again expect multiple Day 1 picks. Those are certain to include edge rusher Chase Young and cornerback Jeff Okudah. Running back JK Dobbins could also sneak into the first round.
A best-case scenario for USC would have just Young and Okudah taken off the board early while both Jackson and Pittman managed to hear their names by the end of the night. Then USC and Ohio State would remain tied at 83.
It’s more likely Young and Okudah will bring the Buckeyes to 83 while the Trojans ultimately trail at 82 thanks to the selection of Jackson.
The good news is USC is likely to hold onto the record for the most all-time draft selections, though even there’s no guarantee there.
The Trojans claim 509 all-time picks, though DraftHistory.com has the count at 510 (a discrepancy because of Ken Roskie, a player often misattributed to USC’s totals even though he attended South Carolina). They lead Notre Dame with 505 and Ohio State with 453.
Despite Ohio State’s recent prolific draft production, they aren’t threatening USC on the all-time front just yet.
Notre Dame is the closest challenger and the Trojans may be able to hold them off for another year.
USC has two players who are almost certain to be drafted, with three fringe prospects.
Jackson and Pittman will put USC at 511. If Rector, Richmond, or Houston warranted a selection the Trojans could end with 514 at most.
Notre Dame has five expected to be drafted with three of their own on the edge.
Tight end Cole Kmet, defensive lineman Julian Okwara, wide receiver Chase Claypool, cornerback Troy Pride Jr., and defensive end Khalid Kareem will bring the Irish to 510 selections. If safety Alohi Gilman is taken they could end up at 511. Those are the likeliest scenarios.
A best-case scenario for Notre Dame would have safety Jalen Elliot and wide receiver Chris Finke bring their total to 513.
So the ideal for both programs would have USC out front. However, the Trojans can’t bank on Rector, Richmond, or Houston being drafted. Pre-draft evaluations don’t look particularly promising on that front.
If USC stays put at 511, everything could come down to Gilman, Elliot, and Finke.
It’ll all be settled by Saturday.