All in all it was not a bad day for USC in the 2010 NFL draft.
Even with all the naysayers who want to proclaim USC dead.
USC still had a pretty good draft. Even after going 9 and 4, with all the controversy surrounding last season and the departure of Pete Carroll to the Seahawks...USC still made their mark in this years draft
USC saw seven players drafted overall and another six signed as unrestricted free agents. Even with the down year that USC had on the field in 2009 USC still made a strong showing. Florida had the most players drafted with nine and USC shared second place with seven players drafted with a couple of other schools.
The one thing that probably was most surprising to USC fans and followers was how a number of this years draft eligible players dropped from supposed high mock draft slots. It is hard to know the exact reason, but the prevailing opinion among some of the fans is that with Pete Carroll now in the NFL ,this current crop of players didn't have the advocate in PC like they had in previous years. I'm not sure I agree, film is film, but the thought process is as follows: Pete Carroll isn't going to share any extra info on his former players when opposing coaches could use it against him or them. Some see it as a conflict of interest.
I don't know the answer but I am pretty sure that the teams lack luster performance last season probably had something to do with it.
Whatever the reason, one thing is for sure; current USC players took note of the places where their former team mates went in the draft...
USC players were on the field before the NFL draft concluded Saturday, but they were still talking about the fates of former teammates when an 81-play scrimmage was over.
"Everyone fell lower than we all expected," senior cornerback Shareece Wright said.
Safety Taylor Mays' slip to the second round, along with his critical comments aimed at former coach Pete Carroll, was only some of the fallout. Receiver Damian Williams was the only Trojan with eligibility remaining who was selected before the fourth round.
"We feel bad for guys like that that have another year to play and leave and go on the second or third day of the draft," Coach Lane Kiffin said.
I have already discussed Taylor Mays so I will leave it there.
The seven who were drafted...
Damian Williams going in the third round didn't shock me at all. I still think it was the right move for D-Will to move on...he was not going to improve his game that much. He is probably the best route runner in the draft this year but his size and speed doesn't fit the mold of the prototypical NFL receiver. That is not to say that he won't have a solid career but the NFL likes their receivers big, tall and fast. Staying the extra year was not going to make him any bigger, taller or faster, so I really have no problem with him going. He also finished his degree so he has something to fall back on...
Everson Griffen on the other hand went from a possible late first round/early second round pick to dropping to the fourth round.
The reason is simple...the film don't lie.
Griffen has some maturity issues. Many feel that he didn't play with the intensity that matched his talent. Some feel he took plays off and that he didn't respond well to being coached up, at least until Jethro Franklin came in last season. We have also heard that he some issues in regards to getting along with his team mates.
Character is still king in the NFL. Talent will only get you so far, this era of the NFL is all about team chemistry and keeping your nose clean. Griffen definitely would have benefited from one year of grooming under Coach O...Griffen's leaving early definitely cost him some money.
Charles Brown went a little bit lower than where he should have went but a second round pick to the defending Super Bowl Champs is not a bad place to be.
I thought Kevin Thomas went a little higher than I thought he would but he went into great situation in Indianapolis.
Joe McKnight is another player that should have stayed but contrary to what some have said (cough-Scott Wolf-cough) the circumstances around his girlfriend's Land Rover that led to his being ineligible for SC's bowl game sealed his fate. I still don't know if McKnight was urged to leave school or if he was outright told to leave. McKnight wanted to stay and he said as much numerous times...who knows what the truth is. I was surprised that the Jets took McKnight in the fourth round. At first I wondered why take another running back? But once the Jets traded Leon Washington it became clear. McKnight has his work cut out for him. He needs to bulk up and he needs to carry the football better. He was better at running between the tackles last season so that helps his stock.
The biggest disappointment to me was Anthony McCoy.
This is a tragedy of errors, not comedy. McCoy had some flashes in 2009 but he did disappear in a few games last season. I realize the whole offense was suspect so you could say there were outside reasons. The first big red flag was McCoy being ruled academically ineligible for the bowl game. I mean come on...your last game with scouts in the stands and you're not able to get on the field? McCoy then had what some considered to be an average senior bowl week and then he pops positive for THC at the combine!
That isn't shooting yourself in the foot that is jumping off a cliff!!
Pete Carroll taking a flyer on him is the only thing that saved him. It was a pick that realy has little down side to the Seahawks, as were others that I will get into later. I really didn't think McCoy would get drafted after a positive urinalysis test. Carroll knows McCoy's strengths and weakness and he knows how to motivate him.
This is all on McCoy now...how will he respond?
With all the gnashing of teeth over Pete Carroll not drafting Mays or D-Will, Carroll actually picked off a lot of former Trojans yesterday.
His first big move was trading for LenDale White. That fills a need. Carrol knows that White is motivated and he knows just how to use him. Tennessee's Jeff Fischer was in a tough spot if he kept White so he made the best move for both. Carroll then took McCoy. After the draft Carroll then signed Will Harris, Jeff Byers and Josh Pinkard. Earlier in the week Carroll brought in Tome Malone and Big Mike Williams. Add these players to former USC standouts and current Seahawks Lofa and LoJack and you can see that Seattle looks like USC's north campus.
Carroll also signed former UCLA LB Reggie Carter...I wonder if the "you call timeout/I call touchdown" play and its aftermath will come up in discussion? Maybe it is true that Pete runs a thug program...after all he is taking a loudmouth thug in Carter.
All of Carroll's free agent moves are low risk. These guys still have to make the team. He knows these guys inside and out, if they don't perform then they get cut with little damage to the Seahawks roster. Carroll had one of the better drafts yesterday. He still has to get it done on the field but so far he is making some smart moves.
Other free agent signings...
Alex Parsons went to Oakland.
Nick Howell went to Tennessee as well.
Averell Spicer has NOT been signed.
I liked the NFL Network's draft coverage better than ESPN's, no emotion, no sack washing, just information.... Not that I really focus a lot on the NFL other than the Jets, but I am done with ESPN in regards to the NFL... What happened to Keyshawn?... Gruden was tedious and that is being nice... Gruden should adopt Tebow for all the love he gives him... Is it me, or has Steve Young's analysis declined this year?... Anyone here think that Kiper and McShay like each other?... Interesting love affair going on between the Patriots and Urban Meyer... Dononvan Warren went undrafted, how did that pick of Michigan over USC work out you pal? Looks like uncle Mark (Carrier) bailed Warren out in getting him signed with the Jets...Tampa has two new studs for their D-line but they still need a lot of help elsewhere... Rich Eisen kept me entertained and he kept things moving... I am still not the biggest fan of Mack Brown (politicking for the Rose Bowl and his using Kindle as a Spy before the MNC game) but he came off as knowledgeable and sincere as an analyst on the NFL Network... Mike Mayock not being able to speak was a bummer, I would love to see him and Kiper on the same team...I liked the new draft format, but I did not like the forth round when all the picks were called from the individual teams tables... I liked bringing in former players to announce the picks of certain teams, nice touch with Sweetness' kids making the Bears pick.