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Marqise Lee should be the first USC player drafted this week.
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

Southern California had a tumultuous 2013 season, but it ended with success and a bowl win over Fresno State. The Trojans had plenty of talent on their roster, which will be reflected in their fortunes in the 2014 NFL draft.

Starting with wideout Marqise Lee, a likely early-round selection, USC could have as many as six players selected in the three-day draft, which begins Thursday night and runs through Saturday at New York's Radio City Music Hall. 

Here is a look at the former Trojans who expect to hear their names called in the seven-round draft, with analysis, stats and projections. 

Quotes for this article were obtained from recent conference calls with NFL draft experts Mel Kiper of ESPN and Mike Mayock of NFL Network

 

OLB Devon Kennard

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LB Devon Kennard has very solid intangibles for an NFL roster.
Eric Risberg/Associated Press

Drafted

5th round, No. 174 overall to New York Giants. 

Height

6’3”

Weight

249 lbs.

Analysis

A very versatile player who played at defensive end, middle linebacker and outside linebacker while at USC.  A strong, smart player who is a team leader and mature team captain and also an excellent tackler. Only an average athletic type and needs to improve as a pass-rusher and also against the run. He has very strong intangibles.

The Giants have an uneven linebacker corps, and while there are numerous veterans returning, there is opportunity for Kennard to win a spot on the outside or even contribute as a rush end. His versatility is a major plus. He wasn't projected as a draft pick, but clearly the Giants saw something. 

Replacement

Kennard was one of two Trojan starting linebackers to depart, and multiple players with experience are poised to step forward. Senior J.R. Tavai had 56 tackles, eight for loss and 3.5 sacks as a junior, while sophomores Jabari Ruffin (22 tackles), Scott Starr (nine tackles) and Quinton Powell (20 tackles, one sack) are also poised for more playing time this fall.

 

C Marcus Martin

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Center Marcus Martin has an NFL-ready body.
Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Drafted

Third round, No. 70 overall to San Francisco 49ers 

 

Height

6’3”

Weight

320 lbs

Analysis

A solidly built player who is a solid protector against both the pass and the run, a versatile player who could fit in immediately at either center or guard. Only has average quickness off the line and could improve his ability to finish, which could be developed by his NFL team. Needs to improve his overall toughness to match his body type.

Martin could be a steal for the 49ers and could potentially play early. 2013 starting center Jonathan Goodwin is a free agent, and fourth-year player Daniel Kilgore recently had his contract extended, meaning he could be elevated to the starting role this fall.

In addition, veteran Mike Iupati missed four games last season with injuries and is coming off a broken left fibula suffered in the NFC Championship Game. Martin’s versatility makes him a strong bet to play somewhere on the 49ers’ line this fall.

Replacement 

Martin was a versatile starter who started at both guard and center in his time at USC, but the Trojans have talented replacements. Leading them is junior Max Tuerk, a two-year starter who is capable of starting at any position on the line. He played at left tackle in 2012 and started at left guard much of last season.

WR Marqise Lee

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Marqise Lee could add serious athleticism and game-breaking ability to an NFL wide receiver group.
Alex Gallardo/Associated Press

Drafted 

Second round, No. 39 overall to Jacksonville Jaguars.

 Height

6’0”

 Weight

191 lbs

Analysis

Slipped from winning Biletnikoff Award for nation’s top receiver in 2012 with injury-plagued 2013 season that saw him miss three games due to knee injury. Durability is a concern. An excellent athlete who has great burst and acceleration and can make things happen after the catch. A good route-runner who can also get separation when he needs to and an excellent catcher who snatches balls out of the air. He could also serve as a talented kick returner, giving a team extra value.

With the Jaguars announcing Friday night that Justin Blackmon, who has struggled with substance abuse issues, is done with the team, Lee is an excellent addition alongside wideout Cecil Shorts and Allen Robinson for quarterback Chad Henne or No. 3 overall pick Blake Bortles. 

Replacement

Although fragile, Lee was one of college football’s most dynamic receivers and his departure was a big loss for USC. However, they have a dynamic replacement in junior Nelson Agholor, who had 56 receptions for 918 yards and six touchdowns in 2013. He is also an excellent punt returner, averaging 19.1 yards per return with two touchdowns last fall. His 93-yard return at Cal was the second-longest in program history: Agholor had 1,444 all-purpose yards last fall. Sophomore Darreus Rogers (22 receptions, 257 yards in 2013) also figures into the mix.

FS Dion Bailey

Dion Bailey figures to be an early-round selection in the NFL draft.
Dion Bailey figures to be an early-round selection in the NFL draft.
Michael Conroy/Associated Press

Matt Miller Draft Projection

Fifth round, No. 158 overall to Indianapolis Colts.

 

Height

6’0”

 

Weight

231 lbs.

 

Stat line

62 tackles, 6.5 for loss, five interceptions. 

 

Analysis

Moved from linebacker to safety and made plays all over the field for the Trojans. Does not have excellent speed and takes bad angles sometimes on coverage and tackles. An excellent blitzer who could fit in on special teams and as a safety/linebacker hybrid or nickel safety.

TE Xavier Grimble

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Xavier Grimble surprised some with his decision to leave early for the NFL.
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

Matt Miller Draft Projection

Seventh round, No. 242 overall to San Francisco 49ers. 

 

Height

6’4”

 

Weight

257 lbs.

 

Stat line

25 receptions, 270 yards, two touchdowns.

 

Analysis

Has a solid frame and a good worker over the middle of the field with good hands, a tough player to bring down and also a solid blocker. He could stand to gain some strength, and durability is an issue. However, it was a surprise that he declared for the draft following an underwhelming season. He is likely a late-round draft pick.

RB Silas Redd

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Silas Redd suffered through an injury-plagued senior season at USC.
Eric Risberg/Associated Press

Matt Miller Draft Projection

Undrafted. No. 22 running back.

 

Height

5’ 10”

 

Weight

212 lbs

 

Stat line

376 yards, one touchdown

 

Analysis

Suffered through an injury-plagued 2013, missing eight games with two separate knee injuries. A thick tailback with good moves, eyes and elusiveness. A solid blocker but could improve his route running and overall speed. A good performer who could be a value as a free-agent signee or late-round pickup.

DT George Uko

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George Uko's decision to leave early for the NFL draft was somewhat surprising.
Michael Conroy/Associated Press

Matt Miller Draft Projection

No. 114 to Jacksonville Jaguars.

 

Height

6’3”

 

Weight

284 lbs

 

Stat line

36 tackles, five sacks.

 

Analysis

Made a somewhat surprising decision to leave school early following a moderately productive junior season. Played both defensive end and defensive tackle and has good leverage and hands. Sometimes struggles to get separation at the line, and it isn’t clear whether he is a defensive end or defensive tackle. He needs to play more consistently. 

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