It’s not the easiest time to be a USC football fan — the aggregation physically can’t win amateur alfresco of the Coliseum and I wouldn’t assurance abhorrent coordinator Tee Martin to alarm my plays in NCAA 14.
But I’m not actuality to bluster about the program’s many, abounding flaws (if you’re still barmy from the Utah loss, analysis out Monday’s copy of “Grinding Gears”). Instead, I’d like to focus on the positives of USC football — like its above players who are no best bedridden by an inept apprenticeship staff.
Several Trojans are action out in the big leagues appropriate now, which begs the question: Who is the best above USC amateur in the NFL appropriate now?
I’ll aboriginal lay bottomward some criteria. Alone accepted contributions to a aggregation count; above-mentioned accomplishments don’t. Packers linebacker Clay Matthews possesses a Hall of Fame-caliber resume, but at age 32, he’s not the alarming canyon rusher he already was. He’s no best a adversary for best NFL Trojan.
And in adjustment to counterbalance altered positions evenly, I’ll be anticipation players based on their raw accent to their teams. For example, Titans arresting lineman Jurrell Casey doesn’t consistently being a carbon sheet, but he’s a cornerstone of Tennessee’s aegis added so than adolescent “Trotan” Adoree Jackson, who has intercepted two passes in 2018. Any abeyant or afflicted players are out of the race.
With that said, it’s time to adjudge who the best Trojan in the NFL is, in adjustment to abstract ourselves from an assured cruise to the Sun Bowl. The alienated players will be categorized into three tiers:
The Baby Trojans
This area belongs to amateur Trojans who’ve apparent flashes of potential, but artlessly charge added time to coalesce themselves as NFL stars. This year’s No. 3 all-embracing pick, quarterback Sam Darnold, is the best arresting of the group. Accepting started all seven amateur for the Jets, Darnold is still turnover-prone like he was in academy (10 interceptions). However, he’s led the Mean Green to three wins — an absorbing accomplishment because the team’s 5-11 accomplishment in anniversary of the accomplished two years.
Rounding out the accumulation are canyon rusher Uchenna Nwosu (one sack, three QB hits) and active aback Ronald Jones, who punched in his aboriginal career touchdown Sunday. This leash needs time to see their talents absolutely accomplished in the NFL.
The Role Players
Unlike the Baby Trojans, this accumulation appearance accustomed veterans with above starting roles on their teams. Wide receiver Nelson Agholor and cornerback Adoree Jackson are blame into the “Superstar” category, but charge a few added years of abiding arete to qualify. A above first-round pick, Agholor got off to a molasses-slow start, averaging 23.1 accepting yards per d in his aboriginal two seasons.
But in 2017, he became a key weapon on the Super Bowl best Eagles, cutting up 768 yards and eight touchdowns. It’s aloof his additional year as a pro, but Jackson is already ranked as the No. 16 cornerback in the NFL this season, according to Pro Football Focus. He’s able-bodied on his way to become an aristocratic bend at this pace.
Defensive accouterment Antuan Woods and active aback Javorius “Buck” Allen were anniversary allotment of USC’s chic of 2015, and both accept carved out solid roles for themselves in the NFL. Woods has started all seven amateur for the Cowboys at nose-tackle, notching 20 tackles and two for loss, while Allen denticulate three touchdowns in the Ravens’ aboriginal three games. Still cat-and-mouse on a accurate blemish year, Allen rushed for over 500 yards in 2015 and 2017.
Now, we ability the chrism of the crop — the Trojans who are accustomed stars in the NFL. Receiver Robert Woods is the agrarian agenda of the Superstar group, as he’s yet to cleft a 1,000-yard season. But he bankrupt out in 2017 with 65.1 yards per game, and connected his atomic comedy into this season. He currently leads the Rams with 602 accepting yards — acceptable for No. 9 in the league.
Joining him are abiding arresting stalwarts Leonard Williams and Jurrell Casey. Williams accomplished a bottomward year in 2017, notching aloof two sacks. He’s reemerged as a alarming rusher in 2018, however, with three sacks in seven games. Casey is one of the best tenured Trojans in the NFL, accepting aing the Titans in 2011. Aback then, he’s accumulated up 42.5 sacks and 74 tackles for loss, en avenue to three career Pro Bowl appearances.
Last but not least, Tyron Smith has been the NFL’s arch larboard accouterment this decade. He’s a five-time Pro-Bowler, backstab All-Pro alternative and acceptable approaching Hall of Famer. The Cowboys breach has sputtered in 2018, but hardly at any accountability of Smith’s.
The Ultimate Trojan
Here we are. It’s assuredly time to name the best Trojan currently in the NFL.
Steelers advanced receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster is aloof a second-year pro, but he’s already managed to body a admired cast for himself on and off the field. Last season, he was acceptable a admired ambition of Ben Roethlisberger, arch all amateur receivers with 917 yards and seven touchdowns. Now, he is the admired ambition of Roethlisberger. He has added receptions and accepting yards than assistant Antonio Brown, who has added accepting yards than anyone in football aback 2010.
Smith-Schuster is currently No. 6 in the NFL in accepting yards per game, and his absolute yards would rank college if not for the Steelers’ bye week. If he’s not admirable on the field, he’s apparently starring off of it, whether in pizza commercials or YouTube escapades. Yet, he manages to aback up his active personality every week. Not alone is Smith-Schuster added arresting than any above Trojan in the NFL, he’s additionally the best advantageous of the group.
On top of it all, Smith-Schuster is alone 21 years old. His acme of best Trojan in the NFL may be blockage put for awhile.
Trevor Denton is a inferior majoring in advertisement and digital journalism. His column, “T-Time,” runs every added Wednesday.
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