USC football starters in the NFL: Trojan offensive tackles win top jobs

Former USC football lineman Zach Banner. (Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Former USC football lineman Zach Banner. (Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

Two former USC football offensive tackles have won starting jobs for the 2020 NFL season.

The start of the NFL season will see two new USC football alumni starters in the league.

The congratulations should be extended to Zach Banner and Austin Jackson, who have won starting jobs at tackle for the Steelers and Dolphins respectively.

That brings the number of projected starters in the NFL from USC this year to 11.

Can you name them all?

List of USC football alumni starting in the NFL in 2020:

  • Austin Jackson, Miami Dolphins left tackle
  • Sam Darnold, New York Jets quarterback
  • JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver
  • Zach Banner, Pittsburgh Steelers left tackle
  • Adoree’ Jackson, Tennessee Titans cornerback
  • Jurrell Casey, Denver Broncos defensive end
  • Tyron Smith, Dallas Cowboys left tackle
  • Leonard Williams, New York Giants defensive end
  • Ronald Jones II, Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back
  • Devon Kennard, Arizona Cardinals strongside linebacker
  • Robert Woods, Los Angeles Rams wide receiver

The majority of USC’s NFL starters have been established for a while, but adding Jackson and Banner to the mix is a positive development. Others could soon follow.

Uchenna Nwosu is a backup for the Chargers with starting potential going forward. So is Rasheem Green. Both defenders hopefully have their best ahead of them.

Chuma Edoga would be the first man off the bench for the Jets if anything happened to left tackle Mehhi Benton or right tackle George Fant.

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Wide receiver Michael Pittman will battle from behind T.Y. Hilton, Zach Pascal and Parris Campbell for a starting job with the Colts as the season progresses.

Veterans like Nelson Agholor with the Raiders are in a similar, albeit more precarious position.

Both Everson Griffen and Antwaun Woods could be elevated into the Cowboys starting lineup, but the defensive end and defensive tackle find themselves in the rotation for now.

Nickell Robey-Coleman signed with the Eagles as an unrestricted free agent this spring. However, he’ll have to beat out other cornerbacks like Avonte Maddox and Darius Slay for a starting hob, unless Philadelphia makes generous use of a slot corner.

Another veteran with starting experience on a new team is Malcolm Smith, who will work from behind Sione Takitaki as a new signee with the Browns.

Cleveland has another intriguing former Trojan to track. Porter Gustin doesn’t have much hope of overtaking Myles Garrett at defensive end, but he won himself a place on the roster with a strong training camp and will now battle for a chance at playing time.

As for Matt Barkley and Jordan Simmons, they’ve settled comfortably into back up roles. The former is an injury to Josh Allen away from starting for the Bills while Simmons is set to provide depth behind Mike Iupati for the Seahawks.

MORE: USC falls further behind Oregon in OL recruiting

Some other familiar Trojan faces could have been involved in discussions for the 2020 season but will be out instead.

Clay Matthews III is a free agent looking for a new home. He almost signed with Denver but the two sides couldn’t agree on a deal. Rumors of his retirement were exaggerated, apparently.

Unfortunately for Iman Marshall and Cameron Smith, injury has stolen their 2020 campaigns. Marshall tore ligaments in his knee while Smith discovered a congenital heart defect that required surgery.

Marvell Tell of the Colts and Marqise Lee of the Patriots opted out due to COVID-19 concerns.

Next. Alijah Vera-Tucker Opts Out