The NFL draft is today, and there is a lot of talent set to get drafted. The USC Trojans will have a few players selected in this year’s draft. Austin Jackson and Michael Pittman Jr. are projected to go in the first or second round, and Christian Rector could be a day three pick.
Austin Jackson Offensive Tackle
Jackson is 6-foot-6 310 pound offensive tackle; he has a ton of talent and potential to be a player at the NFL level. Jackson is raw and needs more work to be dominant in the tackle position. He needs to work on his technique; it is critical Jackson goes to a team with an excellent offensive line coach to maximize his high-end potential. I expect Jackson to be selected in the late 1st or 2nd round of the draft.
Michael Pittman Jr. Wide Reciever
Michael Pitttman Jr. is coming off a monster senior season at USC. Pittman caught 101 balls for 1,275 receiving yards and hauled in 11 touchdowns for the Trojans.
Pittman is a big-bodied possession receiver who knows how to use his size and strength to his advantage. He gets in and out of his breaks well for his size and has strong hands to make contested catches. Pittman is not very fast, but he has sneaky build up speed and can stack cornerbacks on vertical routes.
Pittman ran a 4.5 forty at the combine. There will be a lack of big-play ability, and bigger corners can slow down his routes at the line of scrimmage in press-man coverage. Sometimes it takes time for Pittman to get open on intermediate routes.
Pittman won with size at the college level; he will need to do the same in the NFL against bigger and stronger defenders. Pittman may not be the fastest, but he is good at getting in and out of his breaks to create some separation. With Pittman’s size and good hands, he will be able to make tough contested catches at the next level. I think Pittman could be a receiver like Michael Thomas of the New Orleans Saints.
Like Pittman, Thomas is a bigger receiver who is not very fast but gets open and makes contested catches. Pittman will be able to help a team right away with his skill set; he could develop into a No. 1 receiver in the right system. In my opinion, Pittman will be a clutch receiver, who will come up with big catches on third downs and be an outstanding red-zone target. Look for Pittman to be drafted between the 2nd and 3rd rounds.
Christian Rector Defensive End
Christian Rector has 107 tackles, 23 tackles for a loss, and 13 total sacks in his career as a Trojan. Rector had a down senior year; he only totaled 19 tackles and one sack.
Rector can play defensive end and three-technique, he has good size, speed and is athletic. The defensive end is strong against the run but needs to get quicker to be a pass-rush threat. Rector will need to get stronger to be able to play the three-technique at the NFL level. He could be a day three pick in this year’s draft.