Scouting the Pac-12 - USC

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Tony Pauline

Draft Analyst Writer

The Trojans had four players selected during the initial 80 selections of the 2018 NFL Draft, including Sam Darnold, the third pick of the event. They may have more players selected next April, though the first Trojan off the board may not be until Round 3.

Grades from the scouting community on Cameron Smith's range anywhere from the third round to the last frame. I think the senior is deserving of the former.

Smith is a tough, instinctive linebacker who quickly locates the action and flies around the ball to make positive plays. He remains disciplined with assignments but quickly diagnoses the action and fights to get through blocks and make the play. Smith is explosive, plays fast and will fit multiple schemes at the next level.

Safety Marvell Tell III has received grades that range from Round 1 to the fourth frame. On this one, I am more in line with the latter.

Tell is a disciplined defensive back who keeps the action in front of him and correctly diagnoses plays. He takes proper angles and shows the ability to explode to the ball from his plant. He’s an explosive run defender and does a solid job in coverage; and solid is the best way to describe his game. 

After watching a half-dozen USC game films, there’s just nothing special about Tell’s game that would warrant top-32 consideration in my opinion.

On the other hand, there’s a lot to get excited about with John Houston Jr.

He’s a fast, sideline-to-sideline linebacker who covers a lot of area and shows terrific skill in pursuit as well as coverage. Houston easily changes direction without losing momentum and shows a terrific closing burst to the play. He’s not the pass rusher former teammate Uchenna Nwosu was, and he's not as forceful up the field, but I believe Houston has a better chance to be a complete, three-down defender.

NFL Prospects from USC

Grade

Round

Full Name

Pos

Yr

#

3.65

3rd

Cameron Smith

ILB

4Sr

35

3.63

3rd

John Houston Jr.

OLB

4Jr

10

3.63

3rd

Marvell Tell III

S

4Sr

7

3.48

4-5

Chukwuma Edoga

G

4Sr

70

3.38

5th

Daniel Imatorbhebhe

TE

4Jr

88

3.38

5th

Toa Lobendahn

G

5Sr

50

3.36

5th

Michael Pittman Jr.

WR

3Jr

6

3.36

5th

Iman Marshall

CB

4Sr

8

3.33

5th

Chris Brown

G

5Sr

77

3.32

6-7

Porter Gustin

OLB

4Sr

45

3.00

FA

Jack Jones-x

CB

3Jr

25

2.83

FA

Ajene Harris

CB

5Sr

27

2.82

FA

Tyler Petite

TE

4Sr

82

2.80

FA

Malik Dorton

DE

5Sr

44