USC currently has 45 players active on NFL rosters and most are doing their damage across the league, making their names known. With all the former USC Trojans in the NFL, it’s also enough to field a pro team. What if you had to put together a depth chart for a NFL Trojan team? Well in this series we attempt to do just that. We start on the offensive side of the ball where USC has produced loads of talent who play on Sundays.
Matthew: Starter- Sam Darnold
USC hasn’t produced a lot of successful NFL quarterbacks recently, however if I had to name a starter at this moment, then Sam Darnold would get the nod. The rookie has shown some of his magic in his first year with the New York Jets. His ability to improvise and make plays is too much to pass up. Plus if given the weapons, things could happen. Darnold would be my starter, however Kessler’s recent play doesn’t put him that far behind.
Backups- Cody Kessler, Matt Barkley (Mark Sanchez/Matt Cassel Inactive)
Dina: Starter- Sam Darnold
Sam Darnold is the most intriguing quarterback USC has ever produced. With his killer instincts and ability to extend a play like it was planned, there is no one I would rather have leading my team than the thicc, trunky, coastal kid. Combine his ability with his clock management skills and cool demeanor, you really can’t go wrong.
Backups- Matt Barkley, Cody Kessler
Matthew: Starter- Buck Allen
The running back position hardly has a set starter as its rotational in today’s football. For the sake of the article, Buck Allen gets the nod here. Allen has seen a steady amount of carries with the Baltimore Ravens and had some success when given the opportunity. Realistically you could have Ronald Jones II as a starter too, but Jones has only seen 23 carries during his rookie season and for me this is based off what they’re doing in the NFL today. Allen with more experience gets the start.
Backup: Ronald Jones II, Justin Davis. Tre Madden
Dina: Starter- Ronald Jones
Going off talent alone, I would give Jones the nod here. You don’t become USC’s fifth all-time leading rusher if you don’t have magic in you. Though Jones has had a difficult rookie season, we have seen time and time again that it only takes the right situation with the right team to turn someone into an NFL star. Jones has the speed, the vision, and the hands.
Backup: Buck Allen
Matthew: Starters- X-JuJu Smith-Schuster, Z- Robert Woods, Slot- Marqise Lee
This was probably the hardest to think of because you can’t go wrong with any starter. Obviously JuJu Smith-Schuster and Robert Woods get the start on the outside. They’ve recently been tearing up the league at the position and both could make the Pro Bowl this season. The tricky part now becomes the third starting spot in the slot. Marqise Lee when healthy gives you a size advantage against a nickle corner and gives a speed advantage there as well. Nelson Agholor also deserves the nod because of his success last season with the Eagles as he played a key part in their Super Bowl season. Go for it wide, then watch the fun really begin.
Co-Starters: Nelson Agholor, Backups: Deontay Burnett, Issac Whitney
Dina: Starters- JuJu Smith Schuster, Robert Woods, Marqise Lee
JuJu Smith-Schuster and Robert Woods are making the Trojan Family proud in the NFL. With Smith-Schuster you get a reliable and explosive receiver who plays smart. In only year two of his NFL career, Smith-Schuster has 13 touchdowns. Woods you get hands talent and a veteran persona that leaves you feeling confident he will make a play on the football. Marqise Lee’s size and speed will burn rival defensive backs and with a quarterback who can get the ball to him, he is a danger.
Co-Starters: Deontay Burnett, Backups: Nelson Agholor
Matthew: Starter- Xavier Grimble
This comes down to how you want to build your team, you could go either way with the only two active NFL tight ends out of USC. Xavier Grimble is my starter for now because he fits what today’s NFL is for a tight end. Very receiving friendly and brings some good athleticism to the team. Rhett “The Machine” Ellison would make his way into the rotation due to his versatility at tight end and fullback, but Grimble is essentially another receiver at the tight end position.
Backup: Rhett Ellison
Dina: Starter- Rhett Ellison
The USC tight end drafted in 2012 has had a more productive NFL career than fellow former Trojan Xavier Grimble. Ellison has recorded 1,004 yards and six touchdowns as opposed to Grimble’s 220 yards and three touchdowns. Ellison’s blocking abilities will also give his team added protection and chances at picking up first downs.
Backup: Xavier Grimble
Matthew: Starters- Tyron Smith, Matt Kahlil, Jordan Simmons, Nico Falah, Ryan Kahlil
Give me three pro bowlers on one offensive line and you get success in the trenches. Darnold will have a line to block for him and give him time back there in the pocket, which is something he doesn’t have in New York. The running backs will have good running lanes to gash defenses. Tyron Smith and Matt Kahlil on the same line is just unfair.
Backups: Chad Wheeler, Zach Banner
Dina: Starters- Matt Kahlil, Tyron Smith, Ryan Kahlil, Chad Wheeler , Jordan Simmons
Darnold has had offensive line problems since his last year at USC. The New York Jets aren’t doing him any favors most of the time, but with this line up, he should have hours to throw the football. The Kahlil brothers are some of the best to ever block at USC and in the NFL, while Chad Wheeler is an exciting up and coming star who is already showing his worth to the New York Giants. If Darnold’s arm gets tired from all the passes he will be throwing, Jones can walk through holes created all day.
Backups: Nico Falah, Zach Banner