Matt Cassel and the other biggest USC Trojans football NFL Draft gems since 2000

These USC Trojan football alums proved to be absolute gems in the NFL Draft after being late-round picks.
Dec 28, 2008; Orchard Park, NY, USA;  New England Patriots quarterback Matt Cassel (16) runs for 6
Dec 28, 2008; Orchard Park, NY, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Matt Cassel (16) runs for 6 / Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports
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When you think of USC football and the NFL Draft, you likely think of glamorous, high draft picks. After all, 26 Trojans have been taken in the first round since just the 2000 draft. That's tied with LSU for the sixth-most from any program in America.

However, there have been some Trojans who have gone on to do great things in the NFL despite being later-round selections. Those players had to wait until day two or three of the draft to hear their name called but when they got their chance, they made the most of it.

So let's look at the biggest NFL Draft gems from USC since the year 2000. These players defied the odds and became solid to even spectacular professionals despite not being picked early in the draft.

Matt Cassel. 47. . Matt Cassel. Draft. . 7th Round. 1. player. 2000

Everyone knows the story of Tom Brady being a sixth-round pick in the NFL Draft and going on to become the greatest QB in NFL history. However, his is a rare case.

Typically, any QB who has even a decent NFL career is selected in the first two or three rounds of the draft. That's because the position is so highly valued that teams often snatch up every decent QB prospect early in each draft.

One USC Trojan alum who defied that narrative is Matt Cassel. A 7th-round pick in the 2000 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots, he was the 230th player selected that year.

Cassel would go on to a 14-year NFL career in which he was mostly a backup but in which he did have stints as a starter. In fact, in 2008, when Brady was lost for the season in week one to a knee injury, Cassel led New England to a 10-5 record throwing for 3,693 yards and 21 TDs.

In all, the former Trojan would throw for 17,508 yards and 104 TDs over the course of 107 appearances in the NFL. That's a far better career than most seventh-round QBs ever produce.