This is a big day for a number of SC players. This draft is obviously not as big as last years draft with Leinart, Bush and White, but for the five players in this years draft it is big deal for them. Over the last couple of day's there have been few items in the press on some of our players in the draft.
In the LAT is an article on Ryan Kalil on how he has rasied his draft stock.
The last time NFL teams went the first two rounds without picking a center was 10 years ago, when Cincinnati waited until the middle of the third to select Michigan's Rod Payne. In three of the last four years, the top center was taken in the opening round. Few people, if anyone, question that Kalil is the best center in this draft.
"Because he's such a safe bet, some of the teams near the end of the first round probably have his name in their back pocket," said Mike Mayock, draft analyst for the NFL Network. "If that defensive end you were hoping for isn't there, then Ryan Kalil is a safe backup plan."
It has been said time and again; a Quarterback is only as good as their front line and it al starts with the Center. Whoever picks Kalil will get a great player and a great guy.
In the Daily News there is a great article by Mathew Kredell on Steve Smith and his hope to be a first round pick.
That's the sort of attitude that is going to make one professional football team happy today, when the USC wide receiver and Taft High of Woodland Hills product is expected to hear his name called by the middle of the second round.
"That's his work ethic," said USC backup quarterback Mark Sanchez, called in to throw the balls during the drills. "He's always out there making those extra catches."
Dwayne Jarrett, Smith's running mate with the Trojans, was the team's marquee receiver and possesses the size NFL scouts love.
But Smith has closed the gap since the end of the season with his workouts at the NFL combine and USC pro day. He might even go ahead of Jarrett.
Smith has "flown under the radar" for most of his college career with teammate Dwayne Jarrett getting most of the attention, that takes the pressure off and Smith has used it to his advantage.
Speaking of Jarrett, there has been a lot of talk about his draft stock slipping and talk of the "USC Receiver Jinx" because of the lackluster career of Mike Williams. Whatever, that is pure rubbish.
Dwayne Jarrett and Steve Smith had the same answer: We're not Mike Williams. After a failed effort to be included in the 2004 draft following his sophomore year and an unsuccessful attempt to restore his NCAA eligibility, Williams sat out 2004 and has struggled in his first two seasons in the NFL.
"I told them the only thing we have in common is we went to the same school," says Jarrett, who left USC after his junior season.
Says Smith, "I'm my own player."
That could not be more true as I think the comparisons are apples and oranges. We all know about the Williams story, some of it was his fault and some of it was the NCAA's fault. Whatever Williams didn't do in the pro's has nothing to do with what he did at SC. If he got lazy that's his problem and it shouldn't have any reflection on USC what so ever. So to me the question is gratuitous at best. Wolf also has a short post on his blog about Jarrett not working as hard as he could have after the Rose Bowl to keep his draft stock high.
Again, I think you need to look at the body of work as a whole. I will not attempt to get in the heads of these players they know what needs to be done in order to succeed on the field. I wish every single one of them the best of luck and thank them for all they did while they were at SC but in the end it is on them so they should know what it takes.
Other player's that we need to keep an eye on are Oscar Lua, Dallas Sartz. Lua is not expected by some experts to be drafted and Sartz is expected to in one the late rounds. Regardless of where they all end up, we wish them the best f luck and thank them for their hard work while at USC.