Its less than a week until the draft, and I can speak for at least myself in saying this coming weekend is my favorite of the year.
For the first time since the 90's, Pete Carroll will be making draft selections rather than holding press conferences about why guys like Mark Sanchez should stay in college for another year.
On the one weekend where college and professional football collides, there are some intriguing possibilities; one being that a Trojan could make a smooth transition into the NFL and keep the same head coach.
On the whole though, we're looking at a bit of a drop in the value of the USC draft class of '10, which may have more to do with the depth of this draft than the talent of the players.
I wouldn't presume to tell you exactly where players will go, so if you want those answers, you'll have to wait a week. This draft is infinitely too complicated with trade possibilities, depth at every position, and the senile, broken mind of Al Davis.
At the top of our draft class we have Taylor Mays and Charles Brown, both being projected by most credible sources as late first-round picks. Mays is a bit of a tricky situation.
If he had declared for the draft last year, as a member of the Trojan defense of 2008 (a defense that many people consider one of the greatest college football has seen), he had a strong possibility of being a top-ten pick. This year, Mays probably won't be so lucky.
As our biggest-name player in this draft, he seems to represent everything that was wrong with Troy last year. He is a physically perfect specimen, undoubtedly a great hard-hitting athlete, but being held back by a lack of discipline and awareness.
Mays could go as early as the top ten (likely only to Oakland) or as late as the middle of the second round.
I think its more likely that he ends up being the Rey Maualuga of this year.
Brown is a different story. He is definitely ready to be a productive, NFL-caliber tackle. He could've been an earlier pick in the first round, but this draft is absolutely stacked with Tackles.
He's probably the fifth or sixth best tackle in the draft and is likely to be picked in the mid-twenties.
The juniors in the class are the real story; Everson Griffen could be the first Trojan picked. With his ability and the defensive needs for so many teams in the draft, I would be shocked if he went later than to the Rams at the top of the second.
Explosive receivers like Damian Williams are almost always first round picks; this year, with all of the depth at his position, Williams will likely be selected in the middle of the second round.
Anthony McCoy should join him in the second. He is probably only behind Jermaine Gresham on the list of this year's tight ends, and there has been ample speculation about the Patriots' interest in him.
After Ben Watson went to Cleveland, the Patriots have been in the market for a new blocking/receiving TE.
Joe McKnight will, at earliest, be taken in the second round as the fourth best running back in the draft. I think it is more likely that he falls into the third round.
McKnight is undoubtedly explosive and fun to watch, but he really doesn't have good size and he never convinced me that he had learned ball security. Those types of mistakes will fly for the first couple of years in college, but without ball security, you will never get off the bench in the NFL.
Unless you're Adrian Peterson. And sorry Joe, you're not.
McKnight has the name, but I think he has the least chance of making it from this years draft class. I don't ever see him being a major player in the NFL.
Towards the tail-end of this year's draft, look for Jeff Byers and Kevin Thomas to find new homes.
Obviously, we aren't looking at the caliber of draft we had last year, but this year's Trojan squad still should make plenty of NFL impact.
Its funny that having three, first-round potential picks is a down year for Troy, but these guys should do a solid job representing Pete Carroll's legacy of creating NFL-caliber players.
Just keep in mind that after next weekend, it really is the end of an era in Los Angeles.
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