USC vs. Cal: NFL Draft Prospects to Watch in Pac-12 Clash

Tyler Brooke@TylerDBrookeSenior Analyst IINovember 9, 2013

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 21:  Marqise Lee #9 of the USC Trojans warms up before the game against the Utah State Aggies at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on September 21, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

With the NFL draft coming up in May, there are a number of pro prospects to watch for when USC plays California on Saturday.

The USC Trojans are 6-3 this season, while the California Golden Bears are only 1-8, allowing 42.8 points per game. It's unlikely that this game will be close, but there will still be some legitimate NFL prospects.

Let's take a look at the top pro prospects to watch for in this one, followed by a breakdown of each player and which round he's projected to go in.


Silas Redd, RB, USC

SOUTH BEND, IN - OCTOBER 19:  Silas Redd #25 of the University of Southern California Trojans runs against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Notre Dame Stadium on October 19, 2013 in South Bend, Indiana. Notre Dame defeated USC 14-10.  (Photo by Jonathan D
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

There are a number of talented running backs, but one to pay particular attention to this year would have to be Silas Redd.

Redd did not play in the first five games for the Trojans due to a knee injury, but he's been solid since he's been able to come back. He's carried the ball 70 times for 332 yards and a touchdown, averaging 4.7 yards per carry.

As a runner, Redd has solid speed and elusiveness to avoid tacklers. He's also strong enough to run through opponents, making him a solid all-around back that could be productive at the next level.

Unfortunately for Redd, running backs are no longer highly valued players in the draft. Still, he should have no problem finding a team, likely going somewhere in the fifth or sixth round.


Deandre Coleman, DT, California

Aug 31, 2013; Berkeley, CA, USA; California Golden Bears defensive lineman Deandre Coleman (91) warms up with defensive lineman Viliami Moala (55) before the game against the Northwestern Wildcats at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TO
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Deandre Coleman considered leaving for the 2013 NFL draft after putting up 48 tackles and 8.5 for loss last season but decided to stay another year.

It turned out to be the right decision.

So far, Coleman has looked great in the 4-3 scheme for the Golden Bears. At 6'4'' and 320 pounds, he's capable of of clogging up the interior of the offensive line and eliminating rushing lanes. He has some long arms and an ideal frame for a pro-level defensive tackle. 

Coming off of the line, Coleman has a good burst off of the snap. However, he isn't the most athletic defensive tackle and tends to play a bit high at times.

Other defensive tackles like Louis Nix and Will Sutton will get most of the attention in May, Coleman has certainly played well this season, and he should be drafted somewhere in the third or fourth round.


Marqise Lee, WR, USC

There's no question that Marqise Lee is the best NFL prospect in this game, and even though he hasn't had the most ideal season, he's still going to be a productive player at the next level.

Although he's missed a few games with a knee injury, Lee has still been productive this season, catching 37 passes for 508 yards and two touchdowns. Over his college career, he's had 228 receptions for 3,372 yards and 27 scores.

While Lee doesn't possess the most ideal frame at 6'0'' and 195 pounds, he is still capable of playing on the outside at the next level. He has excellent vertical speed and is capable of making quick cuts to create space for his quarterback to find him.

Sammy Watkins is the clear No. 1 receiver right now, but Lee is probably the second-most talented prospect. The knee injury may hurt his draft stock, but we saw the same thing happen to Keenan Allen last season, and he turned out to be a steal for the San Diego Chargers.

Expect Lee to still go late in the first round or early in the second. He's a terrific player and will be the top pro prospect to watch in this game.