The USC Trojans only had one first-round selection in this year’s NFL Draft. Offensive lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker was picked 14th overall by the New York Jets and will play alongside fellow rookie Zach Wilson.
We could see a couple of Trojans picked ahead of where Vera-Tucker was this year in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Ryan Wilson of CBS Sports released his first 2022 mock draft and has two USC players going in the top 11.
Wilson has quarterback Kedon Slovis going No. 9 overall to the Las Vegas Raiders.
The Raiders need a lot of things — and maybe the ‘21 draft class will solve some of those issues — but it’s only a matter of time before Jon Gruden succumbs to the allure of a new QB.
Las Vegas has Derek Carr on the roster, but if he fails to lead the organization to the postseason, we could certainly see the Raiders make a change at the most important position in football.
Slovis is going into his junior season and is getting some attention as a possible Heisman Trophy candidate. The 20-year-old threw for 1,921 yards, 17 touchdowns and seven interceptions while leading USC to a 5-1 record last season. Slovis admitted that he lacked confidence in 2020 and will need a strong bounceback performance next year to solidify himself as one of the best available signal-callers in the draft.
The next Trojan to be included in Wilson’s mock draft is pass-rusher Drake Jackson, who Wilson has being selected 11th by the Atlanta Falcons.
Jackson had a standout freshman campaign, flashed in the shortened Pac-12 season in ‘20, and is looking for a breakout campaign in ‘21. At 6-foot-4, 250 pounds, he looks the part.
The Corona, CA native racked up 20 tackles, 2 sacks and a pick during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. Jackson opened up some eyes with a strong freshman year in 2019 when he had 26 tackles and 5.5 sacks.
At 6’3, 269 pounds, Jackson has all of the tools to be a dominant weak-side defensive end. He’s still raw, but if he can put it all together and have a strong showing for USC in 2021, he could certainly climb up the draft boards.
Do you think Slovis and Jackson will be top 15 picks in next year’s NFL Draft?