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April 22, 2004
Trojans in the NFL Draft
Mike Williams status update:
We will now remove Mike Williams from the article. He and Clarett are not going to be in the draft this weekend. Stay tuned for Mike's future, we will cover the story here at USCFootball.com.
Now back to our draft article...
This year several Trojans are going to be drafted in the first couple of rounds of the NFL draft. Some players have solid value that hasn't changed over the past couple of months, where others have ridden a roller coaster ride up and down the mock draft boards. USCFootball.com will look at each Trojan player and project where they may end up.
Even in the down years, USC has had a good share of players being drafted high. The fall off was with some of the borderline players who were not drafted because the team didn't play all that great. Sammy Knight is a good example, someone who wasn't drafted but ended up signing as a free agent and starting in the league. This year, with the success of the team, the Trojan players get a lot more exposure and some of those borderline players just may end up sneaking in to the later rounds, where in the past they would have been forced to test the free agent waters.
Here is a breakdown of the USC players eligible for the draft. We will update these as often as needed leading up to the NFL draft.
Kenechi Udeze: One player who has been labeled a blue-chip prospect from the beginning has been defensive end Kenechi Udeze. Most mock drafts had him as a top-10 pick many weeks ago, and they still do today. A likely scenario would be for the Jacksonville Jaguars to select BKU at #9, but they may be interested in moving up to draft a wide receiver like Fitzgerald. They would have to move up a lot to get Fitzgerald so that most likely will not happen. Reportedly, even though they want a receiver, they would take Udeze before they take Mike Williams if Mike dropped to #9. Just about every mock draft out there has Udeze going in this slot so we shall see if that holds true to form. Udeze graded out at 97 out of 100 according to Scouts, Inc.
Update: The Washington Redskins are now thinking of dropping to #7 from their #5 spot and taking Udeze. That is if they don't trade up to get OT Gallery from Iowa. Also some questions about Udeze and his shoulder injury popped up. Some think it was a rumor started to allow someone after Jacksonville to grab Udeze. He did bench 225 pounds 25 times so his shoulder looks OK.
Will Poole: When USC held their pro day, Will Poole had been sick for about a week. His workout wasn't very impressive and understandably so. He has another workout scheduled for April 16, which could help his chances significantly. Even so, his status has not dropped that far because of the pro day workout. Many mock drafts have him listed as a late first round pick, going to Green Bay at #25 or the Colts at #29 for example. Other drafts have him dropped down to the second round, but this could all change after Poole's late workout. Scouts, Inc. gave Poole a grade 87 out of 100 but also listed him as a possible character problem because of his situation at Boston College earlier in his career. Poole has been great on and off the field since coming to USC, so that should not be a factor for him in the draft.
Update: Will Poole completed his workout for 10 teams on April 16th and really improved his numbers from the Pro Day at USC when he was sick. The teams on hand were the Eagles, Giants, Colts, Jaguars, 49ers, Steelers, Raiders, Jets, Bengals and Ravens. His weight was back up to 193, about where he was before his sickness. His best 40-time was 4.50 and improved his shuttle times and jumped 33-inches and 10-feet in the broad jump. These improvements should keep Poole in the late first round or early second round range. His ranking was also bumped up to 89 out of 100.
Jacob Rogers: Current projections for this big offensive tackle is to go early in the second round, certainly sometime during day one of the draft. ESPN has Rogers going at #37 to the Cleveland Browns, but he could go at #35 to the San Diego Chargers depending on the trades they make or who they select with their #1 pick. He might even slip down to Pittsburgh in the 44th slot. Rogers should be in the top-5 in offensive linemen selected, but there are several other linemen who could sneak ahead of him in the second round. Rogers had a strong grade of 89 out of 100 from Scouts, Inc. and then was dropped to 87. They feel he is a tough run blocker, who is stronger in his upper body than his lower.
Keary Colbert: One player who really helped himself with his workouts was wide receiver Keary Colbert. Like Justin Fargas in the 2003 draft, Colbert boosted his status with some good 40-times in the low 4.4 range and a 36-inch vertical leap. Most of the mock drafts have Colbert as a late day 1 selection, but at least one service projected Colbert to slip to round #4. ESPN actually thinks Colbert could go as high as #51 to Baltimore and some people think Baltimore will draft Colbert, just with the 88th pick one round later. Tampa Bay also could select Colbert at #79 with the 16th pick of the 3rd round. Colbert gets a grade of 79 out of 100 from Scouts, Inc. They feel he can be a 3rd receiver in the NFL, in the mold of Keenan McCardell.
Update: Mel Kiper Jr. picked Keary as one of the prospects on the rise. His projection is that Colbert will be a second round pick for sure with his faster than expected 40-times and consistent college career. Kiper thinks Colbert could go to either Baltimore or New Orleans. His grade from Scouts, Inc. also is now 81.
Marcell Allmond: Scouts, Inc. graded Allmond at 43 out of 100, then was bumped up to 48. He has a shot to be selected in the later rounds on the second day as the 231st ranked player by ESPN. The success of USC on the field could help Allmond make someone's draft board.
Omar Nazel: Scouts, Inc. had graded Nazel at 30 out of 100 (which was the lowest they gave) and now have him listed at 32. He was unranked by ESPN and now is ranked at #356, which would still put him out of the first seven rounds. He will probably sign as a free agent unless someone saw something at the USC Pro day they liked and decided to take a chance on Omar in the later rounds.
Melvin Simmons: Champ was also graded out at 30 out of 100 from Scouts, Inc. and will probably have to try and make a team as a free agent as well.
We will have more updates in the coming days before the draft, so bookmark this article.